India and France have very active and vibrant cultural relations. Regular cultural exchanges take place between the two countries. French interest in India has widened, and extends beyond traditional aspects of Indian culture. This new interest touches almost every domain of culture: art, cinema, heritage, literature and languages. In France, Indian culture is creating space for itself beyond Paris – in all the big cities and smallest of the towns. While the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) sponsors visits of Indian artists to France as also exchange of students in various fields of culture, there is a growing number of private impresarios who organize cultural events throughout France. A significant number of Indian artists are performing in France regularly, on a commercial basis or at the initiative of the various local cultural associations outside the purview of the official exchanges.
Visit of Hon’ble Culture Minister to France
Hon’ble Minister of Culture of India, H.E. Mrs. Chandresh Kumari Katoch was on a two-day official visit to France on April 3-5, 2013. During the visit, she met her counterpart Minister of Culture and Communication of France, H.E. Mme Aurelie Filippetti; President, Chateau Versaille, Mrs. Catherine Pegard and Administrator General, Louvre Museum Mr. Herve Barbaret. In her meeting with the French Minister of Culture, Hon’ble Minister stressed on the existing strong cultural bonds between India and France and called for greater efforts to create mutual awareness and understanding about Indian and French cultures among the youth, by associating them with cultural events and encouraging youth exchanges. The Ministers also reviewed the cooperation between India and France under the Bilateral Cultural Exchange Programme, which was signed in Delhi on 14 February, 2013 during the visit of President Francois Hollande to India, including cooperation in the area of museums. They agreed that cultural exchanges also help promote tourism and educational exchanges.
Cultural Exchange Programme (2013-15)
The Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) provides the overall official umbrella for the organization of a variety of cultural exchanges. The CEP for 2013-15 was signed during the visit of French President to India on February 14, 2013 to enhance exchange of artists, architects, cultural stakeholders, students, teachers, researchers and sportspersons and thereby strengthening people to people relationship. The last (16th) session of the Joint Working Group on Culture, which reviews the CEP, was held on 29 September 2009 in New Delhi.
Indo-French Bilateral Film Co-Production Agreement
In keeping with the importance both our countries accord to cinema and the willingness to enhance cooperation in that field, a revised Indo-French Bilateral Film Co-Production Agreement was signed during the visit of President Sarkozy to India in December 2010. Under the Agreement, two feature films have already been granted the status of co-production namely Miral (2011) and Dabba/lunchbox (2013). ‘Dabba’ has also won the Critic’s Week viewer’s choice award during the Cannes Film Festival, 2013.
An MOU was signed on 26th January 2012 between the Ministry of Culture of India and the Louvre Museum with the aim of establishing an active partnership in the area of exchange of competencies and expertise, particularly in the field of museology, temporary exhibitions etc. Louvre Museum aims to hold an exhibition in India in 2016.
An MoU was signed between Crafts Museum, New Delhi and Bargoin Museum, Clermont –Ferrand for cooperation in the field of conservation of textiles in November, 2012 in France.
Proposal for an Indian Cultural Centre in Paris
For many years India had been seeking to set up a separate Cultural Centre in Paris. A property has also been acquired at 3, Avenue du Lowendal in the centrally located 7th district of Paris. However, certain renovation works have to be carried out before the building could be used as a Cultural Centre.
Namaste France/Bonjour India
The 15-month long Indian cultural festival - “Namaste France" held from 14 April, 2010 to 28 June, 2011,was a comprehensive presentation of Indian culture including art, music, dance, fashion, tourism, films, and literature as also business and education in both its traditional and contemporary forms. The Festival was organized in response to ‘Bonjour India’ a French cultural festival, organized by the French Embassy in India in 2009-2010.
The French Embassy in India has successfully organized the second edition of ‘Bonjour India’ from January-March, 2013. The second edition of Namaste France is scheduled from September 15 – November 30, 2016.