India a cultural super power: Pranab

Special Correspondent

Says country has a major role to play in cultural diplomacy

KOLKATA: Describing India as a “cultural super power,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Sunday that the importance of “cultural diplomacy” in today’s world could not be overstated and the country had a major role to play in this regard.

Mr. Mukherjee, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Rabindranath Tagore Centre that is intended to be the cultural flagship of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in eastern India, said the centre “will become one of the most important hubs of cultural diplomacy especially with regard to friendly countries in the neighbourhood.”

“India as a cultural super power is in a unique position to facilitate this cultural interaction,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Long-felt need

Addressing the congregation, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said the centre answered a “long-felt need of the city to have this type of an art gallery.”

The absence of a gallery of international standards had led “to the holding of exhibitions of the works of famous artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and sculptors like Rodin in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi,” he said.

That the “cultural community in the country really believes that Kolkata is the cultural capital of India,” was reflected in the coming up of such a centre in the city, Mr. Bhattacharjee added.

“Kolkata has historically been a hub of India’s cultural life and social sensitivity and it is in the fitness of things that this imposing structure with its multiple galleries, auditorium, sculpture court, library and conference centre should be located here,” ICCR president Karan Singh said.

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