India-China relations have expanded significantly in both scope and intensity over the past decade. Both sides have attached great importance to cooperation on a wide range of issues with people-to-people exchanges forming an important aspect of our bilateral relations. The two sides recognize the importance of expanding such contacts, thereby contributing towards enhanced mutual understanding. With this shared understanding, during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December 2010, the leaders of India and China agreed on a project involving compilation of an Encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts.
2. The work of compilation of the Encyclopedia was undertaken by a Joint Compilation Committee comprising of officials and scholars from both India and China. The Indian side of the Joint Compilation Committee comprised of Prof. Sabaree Mitra of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof. Madhavi Thampi of Delhi University, Prof. Kamal Sheel of Benaras Hindu University and Prof. Arttatrana Nayak, formerly of Visva Bharati University. The Encyclopedia was released in both English and Chinese versions simultaneously by the Hon’ble Vice Presidents of India and China on June 30, 2014 in Beijing. The Encyclopedia features over 700 entries, encapsulating the rich history of contacts and exchanges between the two countries in the trade, economic, literary, cultural and philosophical spheres. While the contents of both the Chinese and English versions are the same, the Chinese version was released in a single volume, while the English version is in two volumes.
3. India and China have a shared history of over two thousand years. Being a seminal contribution to the literature on the cultural contacts between India and China, the publication of the Encyclopedia will not only bring this history into the public domain, making it easily accessible to people of both the countries, but also provide a much-needed boost to the effort to build popular consciousness of and confidence in our shared cultural experience. It is our expectation that the Encyclopedia will be a dynamic document that is updated periodically as greater research and studies are undertaken on the civilizational interface between India and China.