China and India possess the world’s two largest and most dynamic economies. Their cooperation, therefore, is integral to ensuring the continued growth of prosperity and peace within Asia. With this in mind, Dr. Prakash Ambegaonkar founded the India-China Center as a sector of his Bridging Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C. Bridging Nations is a 501(c)(3) think tank founded in 2002 with the aim of encouraging cultural, political, and economic ties between China, India, and the United States.
The China-India Center seeks to bring together Chinese and Indian officials, intellectuals, and policy makers in order to promote a cohesive discussion as well as effective action on the topics of energy, the environment, and sustainability. It is the hope of the India-China Center, and of its founder, Dr. Prakash Ambegaonkar, that these two great Asian nations may one day stand together upon one platform and unite in combating environmental and development issues within their respective nations.
The India-China Center was launched on January 25, 2012, in Pune, India. Those in attendance included the Guest of Honor for the ceremony, the Chinese ambassador to India Zhang Yan. As well, the founder of Bridging Nations and the India-China Center, Dr. Ambegaonkar was in attendance with co-founder and eminent diplomat Mr. Ronen Sen. A number of other illustrious guests attended the launching, including esteemed scientist and President for the Global Research Center Dr. Ragunath Mashelkor.
As part of the Guest of Honor lecture, Ambassador Zhang emphasized the strong ties between China and India and pressed for closer diplomatic relations. He additionally praised Bridging Nations for their efforts in bringing China and India together:
“The India-China Center is being launched at the optimal moment. It coincides with the arrival of the year of the Dragon, and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Bridging Nations. On top of that, the center is being established at a time when China and India’s relations are at their best and the two countries together seek further expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation. Aimed at building bridges of understanding and trust among the world’s two largest neighbors, and focused on fostering policy initiatives for the improvement of Chinese-Indian relations, the India-China Center can play an invaluable and instrumental role in promoting a better understanding between our two nations, and will help to foster friendship and strengthen the cooperative bonds between them. I hope the center will not only do theoretical research, but also undertake concrete projects and programs. I am happy to note that it has already included educational, cultural, and language training programs in its plans for the future. At the same time, the center will promote exchanges for students, corporations, NGOs, academics and policy-makers. I think these are practical and effective ways to build friendship and trust between the people of these two nations. As the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, we are ready to work to help you achieve this objective.”
The India-China Center has recently begun a program entitled the “Leadership Delegation to China.” The purpose of this enterprise is to provide educators, business leaders, entrepeneurs, NGO officials, and policy makers with the opportunity to make connections with one another in one of the world’s most rapidly developing nations. These leaders will be, in addition to attending the Clean Energy Expo, meeting with diplomatic figures, educators, policy makers, and business councils. Delegates will also be able to have an impressive glimpse into China’s rich heritage and culture.
In this program - visiting Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen - Indian business leaders and entrepreneurs will be given a brief but important introduction into Chinese business, policies, and culture. They will, as well, be able to improve their relationships with their Chinese counterparts, and therefore build strong ties between their two countries.
India-China Scholars’ Exchange Program
The Bridging Nations Foundation has proposed an India-China Scholars’ Exchange Program. The goal of such a program would be to further the mutual understanding between these two nations. The proposed program will last about three months, with Chinese scholars in the program based mainly in Pune and Indian scholars in the program mostly sent to Beijing or Shanghai. Once in the program, these scholars will be able to do research, teach – for Chinese professors on exchange, they may teach at Bridging Nations’ own facilities – as well as in general promote an understanding of their nations’ values, cultures, and goals. The results of all research from this program are placed into the public domain.
Mandarin Course in India
As the People’s Republic of China has become more recognized as a power, so too has Chinese become recognized as an essential language. In India, the statistics are no different: a decade ago, the number of Indian students studying Chinese was small, and yet today’s Indian universities boast a total of 2,300 Chinese learners. Communication between China and India is essential to the Bridging Nations Foundation’s mission, and as such, the Foundation has proposed to institute Mandarin language courses in India under two tracks – Applied Language and Advanced Language.