New Delhi: India has expanded the scope of its development partnership to include efforts to restore historical sites and preserve monuments in countries.
In order to deliver on timely and focused projects, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has set up a special department which will focus on strengthening such partnerships.
The year-old division has been allocated a budget of Rs 10 crore for the financial year 2021-22. One of the projects undertaken this year is the fifth phase of reconstruction at the My Son Group in Temples, Vietnam. Archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India will soon travel to Laos to restore the Vat Fou Temple after completing two phases of conservation work. Another group is also preparing for the holiday to start work on the third phase at the Tau Proham Temple in Kam Prodia. All three are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or members of ASEAN, which has close contemporary relations with China in Cambodia and Laos.
The work overseen by the new department includes collaboration with international and national organizations for the preservation of religious sites, including the preservation of temples and manuscripts.
India is not new to such conservation initiatives. So far, India has completed more than 50 projects in 25 countries at a cost of about 50 million. Prior to the creation of the new division, such projects were overseen by desks with special countries. The new desk, though the single reference point for all such work, aims to project India’s soft energy abroad with a greater focus abroad.
“This is because as an ancient civilized state, the culture and civilization of India has influenced other cultures and civilizations in other geographical regions like East Asia and Africa,” says a person familiar with this development. “India’s technical expertise in excavation, preservation and cultural management is viewed in a positive light and is welcomed. It is an important part of our development cooperation.”
Under development cooperation, India extends the lines of credit, grant-in-aid, capacity building and technical assistance. “India’s development cooperation depends on the priorities of the partner countries, from trade to culture, energy to engineering, health to housing, IT infrastructure, sports to science, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance for the restoration and preservation of cultural and heritage heritage,” a note on India’s foreign ministry website said. Said.
“We currently have 49 projects that are ongoing or planned in 12 countries and are almost invaluable ₹One thousand crore rupees, “said a second person aware of the matter. Several ongoing reconstruction works are being carried out at World Heritage Sites,” said the second person mentioned above.
According to Harsh V Pant, professor of international relations at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think tank, India is investing in past connections “with the aim of strengthening contemporary relations.” Some of these are links and new ones, he said, as India insists on new ties for the future and Delhi is reviving them.