Aiming to augment people-to-people relations, India and China will showcase their culture in each other's land, holding major cultural festivals next year devoted to traditional and contemporary arts.
The year 2010 will see the two countries engage in a major cultural exchange programme, with India hosting Chinese artists and China reciprocating by doing the same for Indians.
While details of the programme are yet to be finalised, officials here are planning to hold a months-long extravaganza in China, to showcase Indian dances, art and films among other things.
"The governments of India and China have agreed in principle to hold a major cultural exchange next year, the details of which are yet to be finalised," Virendra Gupta, Director General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) said.
"We might visit China by the end of this year to give a final shape to the programme. We, on our part are planning to hold a six-seven months long festival in China, though we are yet to hear the plans of the Chinese," Gupta added.
With Bollywood eliciting a lot of interest in China, India also plans to bank on Indian films and music to establish a connect with the Chinese masses.
"Given the popularity of Bollywood and its music in China, we might also include in the festival an exhibition on Indian films, besides a film festival," he said.
India's festival in China will largely be confined to India's standard template of showcasing activities in performing arts, visual arts besides focusing on contemporary art to showcase the present cultural scenario in the country.
India, which has launched a major cultural diplomacy drive across South Asia, aims to foster strong people-to-people relations with its neighbours, including China which is India's largest trading partner but has significant differences on border issues.
"We reckon that if you set out for developing relations in a region, cultural bonds are very important. Political relationships have their own limitations but people-to-people exchanges are more enduring," Gupta said.
He said India also had a cultural centre in Beijing, which acts as a physical platform for such exchanges.