On Wednesday, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) marked 74 years since its foundation. On this occasion, ICCR Colombo celebrated the Foundation Day in all its glory. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay at the celebrations highlighted the pivotal role played by ICCR in aiding India’s soft power since 1950.
The ICCR which was established by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad was tasked with actively participating in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s exteral cultural relations; to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.
With this in mind, one of the significant programmes are the ICCR scholarships which enable more than 7000 scholars from across the world to study in India, boosting people-to-people ties. These scholarships have been crucial in building India’s Neighbourhood First Policy as well with scholarships such as Suborno Jayanti Scholarship Scheme for Bangladeshi nationals and Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme for Sri Lankan nationals.
At the Foundation Day celebrations in Colombo, several competitions showcasing talents across dance, music and painting was conducted. Winners of these competitions received a cumulative cash awards of more than SLR 1 million. All these winners were facilitated by High Commissioner Baglay.