The main objective of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is establishing, reviving and strengthening cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries.
Its functions include:
- Administering of scholarship schemes for overseas; Grant of scholarships to foreign students to learn Indian dance and music, Exchange of Exhibitions,
- Organizing of and participation in international conferences and seminars,
- Participating in major cultural festivals abroad, Organizing ‘Festivals of India’ abroad; Exchange of groups of performing artists,
- Maintain Distinguished Visitors Programme, under which eminent personalities from abroad are invited to India and Indian experts are sent abroad to deliver lectures on issues of mutual interest,
- Establish and maintain Chairs for Indian Studies in Universities abroad;
- Maintenance of Indian Cultural Centres abroad,
- Maintenance of a well-stocked library and the old Manuscripts; Awarding of Library Fellowships, Digitization of rare manuscripts,
- Presentation of books, audio-visual material, art objects and musical instruments to institutions abroad, and
- Execute MEA’s projects and administer scholarships of behalf of MEA and Ministry of Ayush.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations endeavours to focus more on the neighbouring countries by way of enhancing its activities. More academic interactions with the prominent academic institutions and renowned scholars are proposed to be organized in the coming years. Special focus would be given to neighbouring countries during the celebration of International Day of Yoga 2016 and through programmes such as artists in residence and SAARC literature festival etc., subject to availability of funds.
The ICCR Headquarters are situated in Azad Bhavan, I.P. Estate, New Delhi, with regional offices in Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cuttack, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Pune, Shillong, Thiruvananthapuram & Varanasi. The council also operates missions internationally, with established cultural centres in Georgetown, Paramaribo, Port Louis, Jakarta, Moscow, Valladolid, Berlin, Cairo, London, Tashkent, Almaty, Johannesburg, Durban, Port of Spain and Colombo. ICCR has opened new cultural centres in Dhaka, Thimpu, Sao Paulo, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo.
The Council addresses its mandate of cultural diplomacy through a broad range of activities. In addition to organizing cultural festivals in India and overseas, the ICCR financially supports a number of cultural institutions across India and sponsors individual performers in dance, music, photography, theatre, and the visual arts. It also administers the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, established by the Government of India in 1965, whose last award was in 2009.