Days after Beijing asked New Delhi to “avoid politicisation” of cooperation in the higher education sector, including the Confucius Institutes, India on Thursday made it clear that institutes which did not take approval from the government during their establishment will be under the scanner.
Responding to questions at the weekly briefing Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “I would like to highlight that Ministry of External Affairs had in 2009 issued detailed guidelines for establishment and functioning of Foreign Cultural Centres. These guidelines apply also to any cultural centre that is supported/sponsored by an autonomous foreign organisation, including any Confucius Centre.”
“Under these Guidelines, approval of MEA is required for any MoU/Agreement that such Centres might wish to enter into with an Indian organisation. Naturally, if any Indian institution were to enter into or has entered into an arrangement which would come under the purview of these guidelines, then it would require the approval of the Government…,” the MEA spokesperson said.
However, he did not specify whether any of these institutes were in violation of the guidelines.
The Ministry of Education reportedly plans to review Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms jointly established by China’s Confucius Institute and seven Indian universities and colleges, as well as 54 MoUs on inter-school cooperation signed between Indian and Chinese institutions.
Responding to questions, Chinese embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said, “We hope Indian relevant parties can treat Confucius Institutes and China-India higher education cooperation in an objective and fair manner, avoid politicising normal cooperation, and maintain healthy and stable development of China-India people-to-people and cultural exchanges.”