Demand to set up cultural centre in Saudi Arabia increases ahead of Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's visit to kingdomtext_fields
Riyadh: The demand for setting up an Indian cultural center under ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) is intensifying among the Indian Community in Saudi Arabia ahead of External affairs minister S Jaishankar's official visit to the Kingdom during September 10-12.
As per reports, the Indian Community, International Yoga Club, and the Yoga Teachers' Committee in Saudi Arabia are planning to bring this demand to the immediate notice of Jaishankar who is visiting Riyadh to review India's bilateral relationship with the kingdom.
So far, ICCR has opened Indian cultural centres in 38 countries under the supervision of the various Indian Missions (Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi) and Indian Chairs (Centers for Excellence) working under the leadership of ICCR in 51 countries as well.
However, it has to be noted that Saudi Arabia doesn't have an Indian Cultural Centre even though the largest non-resident Indian community resides in the kingdom (more than 2 million Indians) and more than 100,000 Indian students are studying in various schools in Saudi Arabia.
The demand for an Indian Cultural Centre has been raised for more than a decade. This long-cherished demand was raised when late Sushma Swaraj the Minister of External Affairs, visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The NRI Community had also raised this demand during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Saudi Arabia as well as Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe's (President, ICCR, New Delhi) visit to the Janadriya Cultural Festival, Riyadh in 2018 too.
During the time of Dr Ausaf Sayeed as Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a lot of initiatives were organized in connection with the Indian Cultural Center and a Centre of Excellence for Yoga (a Chair in collaboration with SVYASA Yoga University, Bangalore, India and Vivekananda Yoga University, Los Angeles, US). But during the covid period, these initiatives were hindered.
Again in 2021, the historic Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Sports Ministry and Ayush Ministry, Govt. of India for the Promotion and Propagation of Yoga Activities, Yoga Researches, Knowledges Transfers in the field of Yoga pave a new dimension to Yoga and Indian Culture and ICCR also very seriously considering to open an Indian Culture Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The leaders of the Indian community, International Yoga Club, Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi Yoga Teacher's team had met Hon. External Affairs Minister Sri. V. Muralidharan, Hon. Cultural Minister Sri. Kishan Reddy, Hon. Minister Meenakshi Lekhi and Dr Vinay Sahasra Buddha President, ICCR and submitted a memorandum also for an Indian Culture Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The scope of the Indian Cultural Centre is filled with a lot of opportunities for Indian cultures like yoga, Indian music, Indian classical and folk dance traditions, and Indian instrumental music.
It can facilitate a large number of Indian artists and international cultural events across Saudi Arabia. There will be teachers of Indian culture for various arts, music, dance, yoga, Indian languages, and Indian musical instruments under a director.
The Indian Cultural Center is also expected to initiate a big leap in the Indo-Saudi diplomatic arenas and bilateral cooperation in yoga, art, culture, and tradition as well.