Indian Mission to ASEAN
Remarks by Ambassador during
the Third ASEAN-India Cultural and Civilizational Links Conference
7-8 October 2021
As we start preparing to celebrate 30 years of ASEAN-India relations, a number of events shall be dedicated to cultural sphere. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has identified Culture, Connectivity and Commerce as the three broad areas for collaboration between India and ASEAN. Cooperation in culture comes naturally to us because of age-old linkages between India and the region. Lot has been discussed in the last two days on these aspects.
Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. RR Singh, yesterday during inaugural session gave a detail account of cultural ties between our two regions which is reflected not only in the form of monuments and temples, folklore and epics but in general way of life.
Let me touch upon a few broad areas:
Conservation and Restoration of the cultural heritage:
It is extremely satisfying to see that Archaeological Survey of India is actively participating in the conservation and restoration of heritage sites such as Cham Temple Complex in Vietnam, Ta Prohm temple located in the Agkor World Heritage Site in Camboadia, VAT PHOU Temple in LAOS and Ananda Temple in Myanmar. Another interesting project on ASEAN’s Heritage is on the cards and we wait for the end of the month to make formal announcement.
Yoga and Traditional Medicines:
The popularity of Yoga among the ASEAN Member States again is an indication of depth of our civilizational ties, which makes it easier to adopt, assimilate and practice. Efforts are being made to launch project in traditional medicines, which should also meet with the success.
Participation of youth:
As has been mentioned earlier, we have been organizing youth festivals, leadership programme, artists camps etc for familiarizing the youth with each other’s culture. This has been going on quite successfully. A step ahead, now we intend to attract participation of youth through crowd sourcing on generating ideas, for example, for designing logos, suggesting tag-lines etc.
We are very happy with the publication of The ASEAN brought out by the ASEAN Secretariat. The magazine is creating awareness including about the cultural linkages between India and ASEAN. We hope to bring out a publication in the coming year exclusively on the India-ASEAN Cultural linkages. In the course of India ASEAN Friendship Year we shall invite more ideas on publications. Exchange of journalists to familiarize themselves with both the shared heritage and modern day culture plays very important role in developing perspectives and sharing them with a larger audience. We would like to relaunch the project.
Showcasing art craft and culture of ASEAN
As is widely known, the State of Haryana every year organizes a big Art and Crafts Mela at Surajkund, a town near Delhi. While invitation have already gone to the respectively ASEAN Member States, we are in touch with the organizers to try to bring all of them under one banner celebrating the friendship year 2022. We look forward to the display of arts and crafts and collective cultural performances.
Nalanda, situated in Rajgir, which was seat of higher education in the ancient India; which also symbolizes ties between India and this region, has now become one of the most important centres for enhancing collaboration in the sphere of education between us. As is known Nalanda University offers scholarships to the students from ASEAN Member States and we are in the final stage of launching ASEAN India Network of Universities. With the launch of this programme, we can say that we have come to a full circle after centuries.
Development of scientific temper:
Development of scientific temper is an essential part of modern culture. India’s Department of Science and Technology is executing number of projects and organizing activities, under the ASEAN India S&T Development Fund, which stimulates the scientific thinking. India’s Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Progrmme, popularly called as ITEC programme, also contributes to the same. We intend to expand the spheres of cooperation in other scientific areas such as collaboration in space and peaceful uses of atomic energy to develop the scientific temper more. Doctoral Fellowship for ASEAN in IITs should become a flagship programme in this direction.
Our effort has been to ensure the continuity in the cultural and civilizational ties and make it contemporary too!