Originally published : From Chinese Embassy in India
On October 26, the opening ceremony of Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center was held in Pondicherry, India. Chinese Ambassador to India, H.E. Sun Weidong attended the event online and delivered a speech. Shri V. Narayanasamy, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Pondicherry, Shri K. Lakshminarayanan, Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Minister of Pondicherry, Ms.Radha Srinivasagopalan, Director of Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center, Dr. Das Bikash Kali, Deputy Director of Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center, Mr. Peng Shaoyun, Deputy Secretary General, Yunnan Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Mr. Yang Xibin, Director, Foreign Affairs Office of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, and representatives of Dali University and Pondicherry University, and relative experts and scholars also attended the event online.
Ambassador Sun Weidong expressed his sincere congratulations on the inauguration of Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center in the speech. Ambassador Sun said, President Xi Jinping pointed out that diversity leads to exchanges among civilizations, which in turn promote mutual learning and further development. As two ancient civilizations, China and India have a long history of cultural exchanges. More than 1,000 years ago, Chinese monk Xuanzang traveled to India and brought Buddhist scriptures back to China. Over 1,000 years later, with a yearning for Indian culture, Prof. Xu Fancheng came to this magical land. He had worked and lived in India for 33 years. During this period, Prof. Xu systematically translated classic Indian philosophical works such as “Bhagavad Gita” and “Fifty Upanishads”. He also introduced the great Indian thinker Aurobindo to China. He taught Chinese culture in India for a long time, and translated a large number of Chinese classics into English, which opened an important window for people in India and around the world to understand China. It is hoped that the center can inherit and carry forward the spirit of Prof. Xu Fancheng’s rigorous scholarship, introduce his life and research results to the two peoples, enhance the cultural and academic exchanges between China and India, and let the seeds sown by Prof. Xu Fancheng blossom and bear fruits in the new century.
Ambassador Sun Weidong pointed out that cultural and people-to-people exchanges are a major pillar of China-India relations. Since modern times, China and India have supported and helped each other in pursuit of national independence and liberation. Together with the sages such as Rabindranath Tagore, Mr. Tan Yunshan, Mr. Xu Beihong, Prof. Xu Fancheng drew a splendid chapter of China-India cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Friendship between the peoples is the solid foundation of bilateral relations. No matter how the external situation changes, the friendly exchanges between our two peoples have never been stopped. In the future, we should hold more such events to set up platforms for exchanges between our two peoples and enhance mutual respect, understanding and trust. We should encourage the young people of our two countries to carry on the fine traditions of the older generation, and contribute more wisdom and vitality to enhancing the friendship between our two peoples and promoting exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
Ambassador Sun emphasized that local exchanges are an important driving force for the development of bilateral relations. Pondicherry is an example of Indian multiculturalism where East meets West, and people of different nationalities and faiths live in harmony. Dali is also a beautiful and livable tourist city with rich cultural resources. Dali and Pondicherry can conduct more exchanges and cooperation in fields such as education, culture, tourism and urban governance to promote common development.
The Chief Minister of Pondicherry, Shri V. Narayanasamy congratulated the establishment of the Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center. He happily recalled his visits to China, and said that it is a great honor to attend today’s event on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China and the 111th birthday Anniversary of Xu Fancheng. He emphasized that Pondicherry has unique cultural and tourism resources, and its economic development and education level are among the highest in India. Pondicherry is currently attracting foreign investment, actively building smart cities, and focusing on the development of tourism. He believed that with the establishment of Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center, there will be more Chinese companies and tourists coming to Pondicherry, which will add new impetus to Pondicherry’s economic development and India-China relations.
At the ceremony, Ambassador Sun Weidong and Chief Minister Shri V. Narayanasamy unveiled the “Essays in Memory of Prof. Xu Fancheng”, and had interaction on the promotion of exchanges and cooperation between China and Pondicherry. Ambassador Sun said that as two large developing countries and emerging economies with a population of more than 1 billion, China and India have great potential for cooperation in various fields. Under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the two leaders, the two sides should promote practical cooperation to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. The Chinese Embassy in India will continue to support the development of pragmatic cooperation between Pondicherry and Dali in the fields of culture, education, tourism, and trade.
Chief Minister Shri V. Narayanasamy said that Pondicherry is culturally diverse and tolerant, making it unique in India. The people of Pondicherry are interested in Chinese culture. There are some Chinese people living in Pondicherry, and many Chinese tourists come to visit each year. He warmly welcomes Ambassador Sun to visit Pondicherry after the pandemic, and looks forward to continuing communication with the Chinese Embassy in India on deepening practical cooperation in various fields. Ambassador Sun expressed gratitude to the Chief Minister.
After the opening ceremony, the supporting seminar on “Xu Fancheng and China-India Cultural Relations” was held, and the participants had a lively discussion on cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and India.
The Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center was established by the India-China Friendship Association of Pondicherry, India, with the aim of studying Xu Fancheng’s academic achievements, promoting Chinese culture and cultural exchanges between the two countries, and enhancing the friendship between the two peoples.