The Cultural Exchange Programs between India and other countries
Indian Council for Cultural Relations, an autonomous organization of the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs
Key objectives of the measure:
International cultural policy focuses on the following objectives: 1) helping leading Indian art and culture institutions achieve international standards, by making considered choices within the basic cultural infrastructure; 2) strengthening the international market position of Indian artists and institutions; handicrafts; ethnic arts and indigenous cultural industries of India 3) strengthening Indian economic interests by emphasizing cultural, trade and economic ties; ease of access pertaining to export and outsourcing 4) cultural diplomacy: using art and culture to benefit international relations. 5) to participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes relating to India's external cultural relations; 6) to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; 7) to promote cultural exchange with other countries and peoples; 8) to establish and develop relations with national and inter-national organizations in the field of culture; 9) to take such measures as may be required to further these objectives. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was established in 1950-51, to project Indian culture abroad and to bring to India the rich manifestations of international culture. India’s major institution for cultural diplomacy, the ICCR organizes international cultural exchanges, offers scholarships, organises camps and cultural tours and placements, and supports the cultural centres associated with Indian diplomatic missions (Embassies and Consulates) abroad. The ICCR was the key organiser of the India Festivals organised in the 1980s in London, Paris, Moscow, etc. Funding source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Scope of the measure:
Local, Regional, National, International
Main feature of the measure:
ICCR implements its policies through Programmes for taking India to the world and bringing the world to India. ICCR's programmes include foreign cultural festivals in India, Indian festivals abroad, the sending and receiving of cultural troupes, the holding of exhibitions and of conferences and seminars both in India and abroad, inviting distinguished world personalities to India, sponsoring the visits of Indian scholars and artistes abroad, and providing a platform for upcoming artistes to present their talent globally, ICCR publications, international awards, essay competitions and lectures, apart from scholarship schemes and fellowships. It has worked in the following areas: 1) Support to cultural wings/friendship societies of Indian diplomatic/cultural missions internationally The flagship institution here is the Nehru Centre, London, established in 1992. However, India has several other Centres in different countries, with a clear focus to expand away from the metropolitan capitals of the West. As follows: a) the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, inaugurated in Dhaka in March 2010; b)the Nehru-Wangchuck Cultural Centre inaugurated in Thimphu, Bhutan, in September 2010; c) the India-Bhutan Foundation (IBF)established in August 2003 with the aim of enhancing people-to-people exchanges in the focus areas, i.e. education, cultural exchanges and environment preservation, the Indo-BiH (Bosnia-Herzogovinia) Friendship Society formally registered in July 2010; and, d) the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in Cairo, set up in 1992 to promote cultural co-operation and to implement the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between India and Egypt. An interesting sidelight here is the state of Belarus, which happens to be the native state of the legendary father-son duo of painters Nikolai and Svetoslav Roerich, around whose name the Indo-Belarus Friendship Society revolves. The Friendship Society apparently consists of many eminent Belarusians, and has a flourishing Hindi language teaching and Bharatanatyam classical dance programme, as well as a dedicated website to teach Hindi online in Gorki, set up with help of the Embassy of India. Many local students are interested in learning Hindi and classical dances of India. ICCR offers some scholarships every year. A Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2007-09 was signed by the two sides in April 2007. Currently, 150 students from India are studying in various universities and institutions in Belarus mostly in medicine. Belarus is a beneficiary of the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) programme with 45 slots for short-term training courses. (http://www.itec.mea.gov.in/) 2) Cultural exchange programmes While the most visible aspect of cultural exchange festivals have been the legendary festivals of India of the 1980s and 1990s, and the following ‘Incredible India’ cultural campaigns, there have been numerous other similar events showing India to be at the forefront of the global use of soft skills as a form of showing financial and diplomatic muscle. a) India signed a Bilateral Agreement-Cultural Exchange Programme with Algeria in October 2003 to strengthen the cultural relations between the countries, under which cultural troupes of both countries exchange their visits. Algeria thereafter sent their cultural troupe ‘Djemawi Africa’ to India during the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in April 2008, another 32-member ballet troupe in December 2010 and an Algerian classical music group participated in the India-Africa Forum Summit held in Addis Ababa in May 2011. On its side, India sent a 10-member Bharatanatyam classical dance troupe in March 2011, which performed in Skikda and Algiers, and another 14-member Rajasthani dance troupe toured Skikda, Tlemcen, Sidi Bel Abbes and Oran in 2011. b) India then participated in the ‘Tlemcen Cultural Capital of the Islamic World’ festival with a photographic exhibition on Islamic heritage of India, a second exhibition of Bollywood film shows on Islamic themes and also sent a Sufi Kathak group, a Koran reciter and an Arabic calligrapher. c) In Argentina, a major Festival of India was held in 2008, which included Indian classical and folk dance performances, seminars, food and film festivals, a handicrafts exhibition and an ‘Incredible India’ Tourism Promotion. This went on to become an annual event and the fourth such festival was organised from 5-12 December 2011. d) In Vienna, a Festival of India was held by the Embassy of India in Vienna in co-operation with the ICCR and the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) in 2011, included the mandatory cultural performances, food festivals, film weeks, exhibition-cum-sales of handicraft, business-to- business meetings, seminars on Indian dance, Indian music, Indian handicrafts and the role of ‘information technology in Sanskrit-based studies’. e) The most significant country, other than the usual Western capitals, with which India has forged bilateral links, is China. The broad contours of the India-China cultural co-operation were laid down in the Agreement on Cultural Co-operation signed in May 1988, which provided for an executive Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for implementation. The CEP signed in December 2010 during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India provides for cooperation in a gamut of cultural fields including exchanges of visits of performing artists, officials, writers, archivists and archaeologists, organising cultural festivals, film festivals and exchanges in the field of mass media, youth affairs and sports. Leaders of both sides announced 2011 as the ‘Year of Exchanges’. As the official statement has it, while ‘young China expresses great desire to know Buddhism, Bollywood and Yoga’, young India ‘admires the Chinese economic miracle’. In 2003, then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee committed to build an Indian-style Buddhist temple in Luoyang, Henan province, later inaugurated by Indian President Pratibha Patil in May 2010. In February 2007, the Xuanzhang memorial hall was built at Nalanda, Bihar, State of India and in June 2008, joint stamps were released, one depicting the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya and the other depicting the White Horse temple at Luoyang. Another key new link is with Indonesia: the focal points being the two Indian Cultural Centres established in Jakarta and Bali. These Cultural Centres organised a Festival of India in 2009. The Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) for the period 2011-2014 was signed in January 2011 during the visit of the Indonesian President to India. A key component of this link is to explore shared Hindu traditions, as evidenced in the collaborative dance drama ‘SriKandi’ staged in 2011 with Javanese dance group of Didik Nini Thowok of Yogyakarta, 3 Kathak dancers and 2 Chhau dancers from India. 3) Support of student as well as advanced training scholarships to and from India Apart from the ICCR’s fellowships, India also offers various kinds of student and advanced training fellowships for students and professionals. Key among them is the Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation (ITEC) programme, originally launched in 1964 but elevated to become, as the official description says, ‘the flagship programme of the Indian Government’s technical co-operation effort, not only because of its wide geographical coverage but also for innovative forms of technical co-operation’. ITEC has a more geographically focused counterpart, the SCAAP (Special Commonwealth Assistance for Africa Programme). Collectively, the two cover 158 countries in Asia & the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and East and Central Europe. The programme includes (i) Training (civilian and defense) in India of nominees from ITEC partner countries; (ii) Projects and project related activities such as feasibility studies and consultancy services; (iii) Deputation of Indian experts abroad; (iv) Study tours; (v) Gifting/Donation of equipment; and (vi) Aid for Disaster Relief. The ICCR itself has support under several categories, e.g. the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) Scholarship scheme. India provides 675 long-term university scholarships annually sponsored by ICCR for undergraduate and postgraduate studies for Afghan students in India, and another 675 short-term ITEC training scholarships for Afghan public servants to come to Indian technical and professional institutions annually. 4) Specialised training and handholding support to other countries Capacity building programmes are also underway in the fields of media and information, research and education and tourism, among others. To continue with Afghanistan, India has assisted in the expansion of Afghan National Television network by providing an uplink from Kabul and downlinks in all 34 provincial capitals for promoting greater connectivity. Another example is the bilateral financial assistance extended to Cambodia through grants and Lines of Credit. Since December 2003, a team of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India have been working for the restoration of Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap with funds provided under the ITEC programme. 5) Export of traditional skills A major growth area is Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine in India, and, generally, traditional healing. Apart from the link to medical tourism, the focus has been on Ayurveda studies. Argentina has opened several Ayurvedic Spas and massage centres, and the University of Buenos Aires runs postgraduate courses in collaboration with Gujarat Ayurveda University. 6) University chairs in Indian/traditional Indian/Sanskrit/South Asian Studies This kind of support has seen major growth in recent years. There is a Chair in South Asia Studies at the University of Vienna. It is claimed that Sanskrit started being taught there from 1845, and in 1955 a Chair for Sanskrit studies was established, later converted into a Chair for Indology and still later became a separate Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. In 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to establish an ICCR Short-term Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies at Yerevan State University, Armenia. An MoU has been signed to set up a Chair for Buddhist & Sanskrit Studies at Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University, Cambodia, in 2010. In China, a Centre for India Studies was set up in Peking University in 2003. Chairs of Indian studies have also been established in Shenzhen University, Jinan University and Fudan University. Also, in order to promote India studies, three ICCR Rotating Chairs were set up in 2010 at the University of Jena, University of Freiburg and Heidelberg University (all in Germany), and two more were set up in 2010-11 at Free University, Berlin and Leibniz University, Hannover. A MoU for an Ayurveda Studies Chair was signed between Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS) and the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany on July 14, 2010. A MoU was signed between ICCR and the University Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in February 2011 to set up a Rotational Chair on Indian studies in the Faculty of Cultural Sciences of the University. The foremost challenge in the implementation of this measure is directly connected to Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental cooperation seeking more focused coordination between Centre and State initiatives as well as different ministries at the central level itself. Recommendations for greater coordination between the Department of Culture and other administrative units having a cultural component in India specially in the fields of information, broadcasting, mass media, tourism, social welfare, art and crafts and the welfare of artists and artisans have been received for implementation from cultural sectors, civil society organizations and individuals. This has a direct bearing on the international cooperation as India's cultural policy at the national level is inclusive in nature. The mandate is to provide equal footing opportunities to the diverse cultural expressions of the country. To cater to an extraordinarily vast reservoir of cultural diversity spread across 29 states and 7 union territories of India needs a definite mandate related to inter-ministerial, inter-state and inter-governmental coordination.
Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:
Main conclusions of the evaluation of the measure:
The policies and measures have given tremendous emphasis to integration of education, dissemination, research and culture. The impact of various cultural exchange schemes and scholarships is significant. Following are the schemes offered: (http://iccr.gov.in/content/general-scholarships-gcss) -General Scholarship Scheme (GSS; formerly known as General Cultural Scholarship Scheme or GCSS) -Scholarships under bilateral Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEP Scholarship) -Scholarships for students from Commonwealth Countries (ICCR’s Commonwealth Scholarship Plan) -Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, for academic year2013-14 only -Scholarships for students from African Countries -Scholarships for students from IOR – ARC Countries -Scholarships for students from SAARC Countries -Scholarships for students from Mekong Ganga Co-operation (MGC) Countries -AYUSH Scholarships to study Indian Traditional Medicine Systems such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy (available for students from all Countries, though priority is given to those from BIMSTEC Countries) -AYUSH Scholarships to study Indian Traditional Medicine Systems such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy for Malaysian nationals -Scholarships for Afghan nationals -Scholarships for Sri Lankan nationals -Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme -Maulana Azad Scholarship Scheme -Rajiv Gandhi Scholarship Scheme -Scholarships for Bangladeshi nationals -Scholarships for Nepalese nationals (also known as Silver Jubilee Scholarship Scheme) -Scholarships for Mongolian nationals -Scholarships for Bhutanese nationals -Scholarships for Maldivian nationals At the inaugural plenary of the India – Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008, the Prime Minister's office of India announced the Government of India’s initiative to enhance the academic opportunities for students of African countries in India by increasing the number of scholarships for them to pursue under-graduate, post-graduate and higher courses. The ICCR implements this scheme on behalf of the Ministry of External Affairs. Under this Scheme, the Council offers 900 scholarships to the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Comoros, Congo (Republic of), Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea (concurrent from Nairobi), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan (Republic of), Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sao Tame & Principe, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Council has an ambitious publication programme that has grown over the years. The Council brings out five journals in five different languages --- Indian Horizons (English quarterly), Gagananchal (Hindi, once in two months), Papeles de la India (Spanish, bi-annual), Rencontre avec L' Inde (French, bi-annual) and Thaqafat-ul-Hind (Arabic quarterly). In addition, over the years, the Council has published books on a wide range of subjects, ranging from the arts to philosophy, diplomacy, language and literature. Works of eminent Indian men of letters, statesmen and philosophers like Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Nehru and Tagore, among others, hold pride of place in ICCR’s Publication Programme. The Programme is focused particularly on books relating to Indian Culture, Philosophy and Mythology, Music, Dance, Theatre and includes translations of Sanskrit classics in a number of languages including French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and English. The Council has facilitated the translations of seminal World Literature into Hindi, English and other Indian languages. With the growth of vision towards a substantial international cooperation related to culture, the inter-ministerial and the inter-departmental cooperation within India has gained momentum.
Indicators used to determine impact:
Annual Reports (http://iccr.gov.in/report-category/annual-reports) Publications and Journals (http://iccr.gov.in/content/publications)
Area(s) of Monitoring
Cultural Value Chain