“Our country has taken a big initiative in the form of this ‘Mausam’ project. It is our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to establish this link between 39 countries, of which China is an important and integral part. We (two countries) are working on this project. China is definitely an integral part of this project,” Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.
Other countries include Vietnam and Mauritius as well.
Among others, Bharatiya Janata Party member Dushyant Singh wanted to know whether the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has approached its Chinese counterpart.
The minister said that both the ASI and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts are working with 39 countries on this issue along with departments concerned in China.
Congress member K.V. Thomas said Kerala has considerable maritime history and thus there is scope for tie-ups between Kerala and the countries in the Gulf region as also Europe.
Sharma said Kerala is part of the project for which Rs 15 crore has already been sanctioned.
The minister said the project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean world, collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean extending from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula to the Southeast Asian archipelago.
To a supplementary from Sugata Bose (Trinamool Congress) on whether there has been any hurdle to the project from any of the 39 countries, Sharma said India has already started working with Qatar and China.
To another query from Biju Janata Dal member B. Mahtab on the national maritime museum, the minister said: “We are in the process of setting up more maritime museums.”
The scheme is at the conceptual stage as of now, he said. The Cuttack Museum in Odisha is the only maritime museum in the country so far, Sharma said.