Does Project Mausam have strategic connotations?

Project ‘Mausam’ is a multi-disciplinary project that rekindles long-lost ties across nations of the Indian Ocean ‘world’ and forges new avenues of cooperation and exchange. The project, launched by India in partnership with Indian oceran states is a significant step in recording and celebrating this important phase of world history from the African, Arab and Asian-world perspectives.

The project links historic coastal sites of countries in East Africa, along the Persian Gulf, UAE, Qatar,Iran, Myanmar, and Vietnam since the earlier Harappan civilization days – more than 5,000 years ago, to the present.

The Project tries to see how the monsoon winds helped maritime trade which, in turn, encouraged interaction between these Indian Ocean-connected countries. The winds also influenced local economies, scientific quests, modern statecraft, religion,politics and cultural identity.

The project will also record how religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity helped define the boundaries of this Indian Ocean ‘world’,creating networks of religious travel and pilgrimage through centuries.

This is said to be Indian counter-strategy to China’s Maritime Silk Road in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Project Mausam is essentially a Ministry of Culture project concerning the creation of cultural links with India’s maritime neighbours. Pursued in concert with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the project’s objective is two-fold: at the macro level to re-connect with the countries of the IOR with the aim of enhancing the understanding of cultural values and concerns; and, at a more localised level, to enable an understanding of national cultures in a regional maritime milieu.
The central themes that hold Project ‘Mausam’ together are those of cultural routes that not only linked different parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, but also connected the coastal centres to their hinterlands.

India’s intention to carry out the Mausam project was announced on June 20 at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee at Doha, Qatar.

Project Mausam is a strategic project aimed at re-establishing India’s trade and shipping links with various Indian Ocean states.

India regards Indian Ocean as the key trade route as 90 per cent of its trade by volume and 90 per cent of its oil imports take place through sea.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to three Indian Ocean countries, Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka in March shows India is following throguh on Project mausam.

The Spice Route refers to revival of old links between 31 countries in Asia and Europe with India, particularly spice-rich Kerala .

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