July 30, 2019
With a civilisation dating back at least 8,000 years, India has partnered with nations globally in different capacities
India has extended services under cultural diplomacy to nations that are geographically as well as culturally close
ASI restored historical sites in Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, Bahrain, Angola, Afghanistan, etc
Funds for these works are released through the Ministry of External Affairs as part of India’s diplomatic outreach
Cultural diplomacy is in India’s DNA.
The world’s largest democracy, India, has played an important role in shaping the history, culture and traditions of its neighbouring nations since time immemorial. A civilization that researchers from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur and from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have found to be dating back at least 8,000 years, India has partnered with nations globally in different capacities since millennia. Be it through trade, security and defence, technology or culture, India has steadily built and fostered relations with other nations.
As part of its neighbourhood first policy, India has extended varied services under cultural diplomacy to nations that are geographically as well as culturally close. The ASI’s restoration work on the 12th century Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar is a case in point. The Indian state-run agency carried out structural conservation and chemical preservation work on the temple. The Buddhist temple, which is in the Mon architectural tradition, shows traces of North Indian influences as well. In 2010, India and Myanmar had signed a restoration agreement, and India allocated US$2.7 million for the project. ASI had also restored several murals and pagodas that were damaged in an earthquake recently. Such partnerships have strengthened bilateral ties, opening up new opportunities.
ASI: India’s cultural diplomacy arm
Set up to preserve and conserve monuments and historical sites of national importance, ASI has gone past national boundaries to act as India’s cultural ambassador in nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, Bahrain, Angola, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan and Egypt. The efforts have helped foster favourable public opinion towards India and Indians and opened doors to a myriad of opportunities. As a result of India’s close cultural ties with southeast Asian nations, ASI periodically carries out restoration work at temples and monuments overseas. Funds for these works are released through the Ministry of External Affairs as part of India’s diplomatic outreach. The move has opened up new avenues of international diplomatic and economic cooperation.
Here’s a list of leading restoration projects overseas:
As the nation grows from strength to strength, and emerges as a global economic powerhouse, India will continue to bring back to life, the historical and civilizational links that the nation cherishes with its neighbours, as well as those beyond her immediate horizons.