Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong. (Reuters)
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong today praised Bollywood movie Dangal as an example of soft power. The comment by Liu, also a State Councillor and Politburo Member of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), is significant as it comes amid a high-decibel rhetoric against India by the Chinese official media over the standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim sector. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who too had seen the movie referred to it during his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Astana last month on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. Dangal, which became only the 33rd movie in China’s film history to rake up over 1,000 crore, has become a major diplomatic tool between the two countries in recent weeks. “Success of Dangal in China an example of soft power & people-to-people exchanges,” Chinese Vice Premier Liu said when Union Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar called on her along with other education ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) here. Officials said Javadekar too had a very cordial meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chen Baosheng and discussed cooperation in the field of education between the two countries. Javadekar, who was also previously the environment minister, also met Chinese Special Envoy on climate change Xie Zhenhua, who worked close with the India on the Paris climate deal.
Earlier, speaking at the 5th BRICS Education Ministers meeting, Javadekar welcomed plans to create institutional mechanism for BRICS network university and think tanks to collaborate in the fields of education, research and innovation. “BRICS Network University, where 12 universities from each of the 5 countries will engage with each other in education research and innovation, is another commendable initiative,” an official statement said. “Five areas of cooperation are prioritised which are Communication and IT, Economics, Climate Change, Water Resources and Pollution, and BRICS study. India will participate whole-heartedly in all these cooperative efforts,” it said.
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He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is reforming and reprioritising its education from school to higher education. “In higher education the focus is on skilling, research and innovation,” he said.