New culture pact adds excitement to Indo-British ties

July 29th, 2010 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) India and Britain Thursday inked a cultural pact at the end of the two-day visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, which will further increase academic and artistic exchanges between the two nations.
The memorandum of understanding on culture was signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting British leader at Hyderabad House, after delegation-level talks between both sides.

The agreement is expected to open the gates for wide-ranging cooperation in “organising events in each other’s countries, exchange of scholars and organising seminars, exhibitions and performing events”, external affairs ministry’s Joint Secretary T.P. Seetharaman said at a media briefing.

British Secretary of State for Sports, Culture and Media Jeremy Hunt told the media that the “pact should have been signed 20 years ago”.

“Britain was keen to know more about the contemporary culture scene in India because it sought to promote greater soft diplomacy between the nations with strong links and respect for traditional and modern cultures,” he said.

The large projects under the pact includes digitisation of more than 8,000 paintings of British Raj held by various institutions that will allow research scholars of both the nations to access images over the Internet and major joint art expositions, curatorial and conservation initiatives.

The director of British Museum Neil Macgregor said: “This museum was acquiring contemporary Indian artefacts and artworks to project ‘India Now’”.

“We will collaborate with India in digitising India records and exhibits at the museum after the agreement,” he said.

The British Library too is working with India to digitise records - an initiative that director of the library Lynne Janie Brindley said would gather steam after the pact.

Besides, the library has elicited the support of Indian industry majors like the Tatas and the Kolkata-based Jadavpur University for culture projects pertaining to education and research.

Britain is currently basking in a burst of soft power from India. “Increasing cultural exchanges over the last five years have profoundly impacted British culture, breeding a new genre of Indo-British fusion culture,” Rwituja Gomes Mookherjee, head of the Creative Economy Wing of the British Council, said.

“It has led to new opportunities in culture-related businesses,” said Mookherjee, whose department is initiating business exchanges between young entrepreneurs in Britain and India in creative areas like publishing, fashion, music and design.

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