Vietnam, which is key to India’s ‘Look East Policy’, is all set to boost Indo-Vietnam cultural ties in which Bollywood will be the pivot. Emphasising that Vietnam is a pillar of India’s Policy, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), External Affairs Ministry said that Bollywood, yoga and tourism will play a major role in enhancing bilateral relations between India and Vietnam.
During his address at a session in the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on India-Vietnam cultural relations on February 22, Mr Wadhwa spoke about the high priority India was attaching to bolster cultural links between the two countries. Focusing on strengthening cultural engagements under ASEAN and the Mekong-Ganga framework, Mr Wadhwa said: “We need to give it a contemporary face through exchanges of youth, sports, promotion of tourism, enhancing air links, Bollywood, Yoga and Ayurveda on the one hand, and strengthening our defence and commercial ties on the other.”
With a focus on potential areas of cooperation, Mr Wadhwa said that Indian soap operas were very popular in Vietnam. He added that film production in Vietnam can be a potential area of cooperation that will help in increasing tourism between the two countries as Bollywood has been attracting tourists all around the world.
There are around 200 Hindu temples, which are currently in dilapidated condition, in Vietnam and this clearly marks the civilsiation links between the two countries. The Chettiyar community from Tamil Nadu has a substantial influence in Ho Chi Minh City where three temples are located. The famous Mariamman temple has both Indian and Vietnamese devotees. Bodh Gaya has a Vietnamese Buddhist pagoda which attracts significant numbers of Vietnamese pilgrims. A high level film delegation from India had also visited Vietnam in December 2015 at the invitation of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. The delegation found the locations in Vietnam spectacular for shooting of films. Mr Wadhwa emphasised that cooperation in this area must be encouraged.
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