Promoting and strengthening cultural relations is key in developing constructive interactions between any two countries.

The message was highlighted during the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) day celebrations held in the capital this Tuesday.

Director of Higher Education Programmes (University Education) Martha Muguti says in celebrating the ICCR day, mutual understanding is enhanced between India and other countries with culture appreciation growing.

“A clear understanding of each other’s cultures becomes our rallying point; it builds better appreciation of each other; it paves way for more co-operation and it strengthens relations. It is a spring board for further constructive and progressive cultural exchanges.

“Thus, the development of cultural relations, in a proper context of a particular group of people, becomes the vehicle to working with them productively. If we do not take time to situate ourselves culturally, within any group of people we work with or we intend to assist, we are bound to be on a failing mission,” said Muguti.

Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui said the cultural exchange initiative has seen thousands of students from at least 160 countries benefiting through education in India’s different fields.

“Today is the day we honor ICCR alumni. The quest for knowledge has always been fundamental to Indian culture and civilisation.

“Since time immemorial our country has attracted knowledge-seekers and inquisitive minds from all over the world. In the Vedic time Indian rishis (sages) were the embodiment of wisdom,” said Masakui.

Some of the ICCR alumni said they enjoyed learning other cultures, including the Indian culture through the sponsored initiative.

A number of Zimbabweans have benefited through sponsored performances in dance, photography, theatre and visual arts as well as scholarships to study in India from the ICCR foundation which was founded in 1950.