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Cultural diplomacy not a luxury: Karan Singh

Special Correspondent

Asks Council to project India as a blend of tradition and modernity

NEW DELHI: : The new president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh on Thursday made out a case for a generational change that would allow India to project a younger set of artistes and writers as the country's cultural ambassadors.

The Council should project India as a blend of tradition and modernity.Addressing the members and staff of the Council on his first visit to Azad Bhavan here after being appointed president on August 19, Dr. Singh said "we must enter a new phase of cultural diplomacy and start sponsoring a new generation of artistes and writers." Acknowledging the "significant contributions" made by ICCR, he said cultural diplomacy was not a luxury but central to Indian diplomacy given the rich cultural tradition of the country.

Dr. Singh felt that India's religious plurality too could play a role in forging relations overseas, as there was a lot of interest in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sufism — all of which have their roots in the country. "We have to project an image of India which reveres our traditions and also showcases modernity.'' While seeking to chart a new course for ICCR, he also said there was a need to open a cultural centre in Washington, Nepal and Dubai.

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