Preservation of cultural heritage is a promising sector and promoting cultural links is a priority for the strategic EU-India partnership, EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski said on the sidelines of a two-day conference that seeks to strengthen EU-India collaboration in the fields of culture and heritage.
Organised by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to India and the embassies of EU member states, the conference on "EU-India Partnership for Cultural Heritage Conservation" is being hosted by the National Museum Institute of Art, Conservation and Museology here on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Slated are discussions between 32 experts on cultural heritage and its relationship with socio-economic development, climate change, urban planning, conservation of monuments, technology and digitisation for accessibility, and mobility of students and researchers across borders.
"While building our partnership with different sectors, cultural heritage preservation is one of the most promising sectors. That's why we decided to bring experts from both sides and discuss it sector by sector. We don't have a roadmap as such, but we have good intentions, we have a forum for discussion and let's wait for recommendations from our experts.
"We're not starting from scratch. There have been cultural exchanges (between EU and India) for years and decades," Kozlowski told IANS.
"When European and Indian leaders met in October 2017 in New Delhi, they designed a very forward-looking, long-term vision for EU-India partnership, and said that EU and India are natural partners. The focus is very much on developing cooperation, based on common values and common principles, in fields like trade, investments, economic cooperation, climate change.
"But of course, to make our partnership more stable and sustainable, we thought it was very important to develop cultural links, people to people contact, through different means including through mobility of researchers, the mobility of students, cooperation in cultural heritage preservation," he told reporters here.
Promoting cultural links between European regions and India is one of our priorities of EU-India strategic partnership, he added.
Adding the key figure of "4.2 per cent of European GDP being produced by culture and other creative sectors of the economy", the Ambassador said it not only helps in the cultural preservation but also becomes an integral part of our socio-economic development.
The envoy also referred to two culture-based development projects in Gujarat's Ahmedabad and West Bengal that served as examples for the EU-India partnership in the realm of culture.
Among a discussion on EU-India relations and the tangible and intangible aspects of diverse cultures, the conference was set in motion by Kozlowski, Culture Ministry Joint Secretary Nirupama Kotru and National Museum Director General B.R. Mani on Tuesday.
The conference marks in India the conclusion of the celebrations of 2018 as the European year of Cultural Heritage, the objective of which has been to further cultural heritage as a bridge builder between the EU and its key partner countries, EU said.
(With inputs from agencies.)