New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh on Saturday invited Indian filmmakers to shoot their movies in Vietnam to boost the two millenia-old cultural ties between the two countries.
“Besides enhancing the exchange of artists, cultural troops, students and think tanks, we should try new areas such as exchange of movies and promoting film shooting in each other’s countries,” Ton said while speaking as the guest of honour at a bilateral international seminar on “Indo-Vietnam cultural relations: Retrospect and prospect” here.
“We welcome an Indian cultural centre in Hanoi, we hope that there will also be a Vietnamese cultural centre in New Delhi,” he said.
Stating that Ho Chi Minh, the father of the Vietnamese people, was a great friend of the Indian people, he also said that a statue of the revolutionary Communist leader in New Delhi would be an excellent symbol of friendship between the two countries.
“Cultural cooperation is one of the pillars in the strategic partnership between our two countries. Vietnam and India have many cultural similarities which have been accumulated by the interactions between our countries over the last 2,000 years,” the ambassador said.
Organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the seminar is aimed at covering topics on the centuries old cultural bonding between India and Vietnam and its relevance in today’s geopolitical scenario.
There are seven participants from Vietnam, including a minister rank delegate and a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, who would interact with 15 Indian scholars to analyse Indo-Vietnamese relations in a historical perspective and evaluate them in the modern context.
“The seminar is an effort to unearth the contacts between these two ancient civilisations and would cover the centuries-old cultural bonding between India and Vietnam, the role of Hinduism and Buddhism, relevance of culture and literature in today’s geopolitical scenario in the context of India-Vietnam relations, Ho Chi Minh and India and (Rabindranath) Tagore and Vietnam,” ICCR Director General Ambassador C. Rajasekhar said in his welcome address.
“These subjects are likely to witness debate and discussion over our future strategy so far as interactions in the fields of art and culture are concerned,” he added.
ICCR President Lokesh Chandra said that Indian traders and monks who had once migrated from India to Vietnam, had established their Cham (Hindu) kingdom in central Vietnam without any violence or invasion.
“The Indian approach was sharing and giving them scripts for language while cotton fabrics and sugar were major exports going to the highest point in Vietnam. In the past 2,000 years. Vietnam has maintained its identity while we have problems in India,” Chandra said.
“Buddhism has a long history which dates back to the third century BC in Vietnam,” Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the ministry of external affairs, said in his speech as the chief guest.
“Furthermore, some historians also feel that the oldest Hindu kingdom, Funan, ruled from Vyadhapura, was established in the lower valley of the Mekong. The carvings of Cham period depicted events of Ramayana and Indian mythology such as marriage ceremony of Ram-Sita, Krishna playing flute, Indra and dancing apsaras, Vishnu and Sheshnag and the Shivling,” he said.
“The depiction of musical instruments such as pakhawaj, mridangam, drums etc. are reflective influence of Indian music. Vietnam’s famous ‘LakhonBassac’ dance drama is based on the epic Ramayana.”
Wadhwa said that the Mekong-Ganga cooperation initiative has been built on cooperation in the region defined by two great rivers, the Mekong and the Ganga.
“It is a forum which is unique in its civilisation foundation. It is also a forum which has tremendous potential to become a powerful catalyst for socioeconomic development in the region,” the secretary (east) said.