Massive people-to-people contact programme on anvil: Chinese envoy

New Delhi: China and India have set in motion several bilateral cultural initiatives, including a massive people-to-people contact exercise, to get an edge in cooperation in culture which has fallen behind the volume of trade between the two nations, the Chinese envoy to India said Friday.

"I agree that in the field of trade, we are moving much ahead of bilateral cultural programmes. Hence, we have marked 2011 as the year of exchange between India and China to increase cultural cooperation. With more cooperation we will be able to understand each other better," Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan said.

Speaking at a media briefing on the sidelines of an exhibition, "Tagore in China", at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations here, the Chinese envoy said the two countries were planning a mammoth people-to-people contact programme under which 500 Indian youth would be invited to visit China this year.

"The government of China is still working out the logistics. The youngsters will stay in China for a week, visit various historical cities pertaining to their interest and work; and interact with the Chinese youth to promote better understanding. As a reciprocal gesture, 100 Chinese youths will visit India this year," Zhang said.

Trade and culture are the two important components of exchange between India and China, the two Asian economic superpowers, he said.

On cards are a Tagore Museum at the ancestral home of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Jorasanko in Kolkata, a international exhibition of Chinese artifacts in India, a live show by Chinese acrobats and a seminar on Tagore in China, he added.

"We have provided some money for a Tagore museum in Kolkata. If the whole project is implemented quickly, then we can get it started by the end of this year and open with an exhibition. Some of the exhibits from Tagore in China compiled by the Shanghai Municipal Archives can also be exhibited at the museum," the envoy said.

The Chinese government will host an international art festival in Beijing this year, and students of international schools in India have been invited to perform there, he said.

The Indian government of India on its part will open an exhibition of digital prints of Tagore`s works and host a seminar on Tagore in China.

"We have always felt that India and China are not just two economic power houses, they are hubs of creativity. We have ancient civilisations and cultures - and the two countries can complement each other by exchanging ideas and projecting our cultures to the world," the envoy said.

The Tagore in China showcase will travel to various cities including Kolkata later in October, ICCR Director General Suresh Goel said.


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