via DNA India, 03 July 2020: Like China, India too has been spreading soft power influence through restoration projects in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
Playing an important role in the restoration of cultural heritage in several countries across the region, from Sri Lanka to Myanmar to Vietnam to Bhutan, India has taken a lead in helping nations restore lost glory. In this endeavour, the Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) new division — the Development Partnership Administration or DPA-IV – has emerged as the key, coordinating several such projects spearheaded by India.
Created by the Ministry of External Affairs in January 2020, DPA-IV aims to put all the stakeholders on the same page when it comes to the mammoth task of dealing with projects which New Delhi is helping restore across the world. The overarching aim is to revive and display India’s cultural and heritage linkages with other countries.
In South-East Asia, the focus is on Myanmar, Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam. In Myanmar, conservation of earthquake-damaged Pagodas at Bagan is underway. In Lao, restoration of Vat Phou Shiva temple is being carried out in two stages. Vat Phou Shiva is Lord Shiva temple dating back to 5th and 6th century AD and predates the famous Angkor Wat. The water from the spring behind the temple is considered to be sacred. The second phase of the project began in November 2018 and is likely to continue until 2028.