Language Friendship Bridge

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    In News

    • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has envisaged a special project called The Language Friendship Bridge.

    Language Friendship Bridge

    • About:
      • ICCR will create a pool of experts in 10 languages from some neighbouring countries and others who share a cultural heritage with India.
    • Objective: 
      • India plans to expand  its cultural footprint in nations with whom it has historical ties, including those in its immediate neighbourhood.
    • Countries: 
      • Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Indonesia to facilitate better people-to-people exchanges.
    • Languages: 
      • Kazakh, Uzbek, Bhutanese, Ghoti (spoken in Tibet), Burmese, Khmer (spoken in Cambodia), Thai, Sinhalese and Bahasa (spoken in both Indonesia and Malaysia).
    • Implementation
      • ICCR plans to train five to 10 people in the official languages of these countries and plans to roll out the project by this year.
    • University consultations:
      •  ICCR is in discussion with universities and institutes as well as experts offering foreign language courses in the country on the modalities of implementing the project.
    • Two possibilities to rollout the project: 
      • One is to institute tie-ups wherein teachers from these countries come and teach courses in India. 
      • The second approach is ICCR offering scholarships to Indian students to go and study these languages in the countries where they are spoken.

    Need & Significance for the Project

    • In India, the language learning focus till now has been on European languages like Spanish, French and German, along with the languages of major Asian economies like China and Japan. 
    • India requires translators, interpreters and teachers in the languages of the countries with whom it shares a cultural history.
    • A large number of people are visiting India for treatment from countries like Turkey, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Maldives and there is an urgent need for a pool of translators and interpreters for facilitating their visits as well.
    • With India seeing a boom in cultural and economic ties with other neighbouring countries the move was needed and experts also feel that the ICCR’s list of languages needs to be expanded.

    Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) 

    • It was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first Education Minister. 
    • It is an autonomous body under the Ministry of External Affairs.
    • Its objectives are to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs pertaining to India’s external cultural relations; to foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries; to promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people; and to develop relations with nations.

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