China to be Guest of Honour at 2016 New Delhi Book Fair

Xi flowersSeeking to build a knowledge bridge between the two ancient civilisations, India has selected China as the Guest of Honour at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2016.

The two countries signed a pact in New Delhi on September 18, which provides space for publishers in China to showcase their books in India, while Indian readers, too, can access the world of ideas stemming from China.

This knowledge diplomacy is part of the ongoing efforts by the two Asian giants to bolster cultural and knowledge linkages.

“The two sides have agreed to expand people to people and cultural exchanges to carry forward the traditional friendship,” said China’s President Xi Jinping after official talks with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Both sides have proposed India-China cultural exchange programme that covers many things from culture to education, from tourism to films to youth and religious affairs,” added Xi.

China has also been selected as the honoured guest at the Goa Film Festival. The two sides have also signed an Agreement on Audio-Visual Co-production which enables producers from both countries “to pool their creative, artistic, technical, financial and marketing resources to co-produce films.”

Earlier in 2010, China had selected India was the Guest of Honour country at the Beijing International Book Fair.

The New Delhi World Book Fair, organised by the National Book Trust, an apex body of the Government of India, is held in Pragati Maidan in India’s capital. It is the country’s oldest book fair; started in 1972, the fair now attracts over a million visitors

According to the organiser’s website, in 2013, the fair housed over 1200 Indian publishers, and 31 Foreign Exhibitors.

The MoU was exchanged between India’s MA Sikandar, director, National Book Trust, and China’s Cai Fuchao, chief administrator (vice-minister), State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) in the presence of the two leaders at the Hyderabad House, New Delhi on September 18.

India selects the Guest of Honour country at the book fair to showcase its relations with a country which is important for its foreign policy priorities.  In 2014, Poland was given the honour as part of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Indo-Polish diplomatic ties.