National Museum, New Delhi
National Museum, New Delhi

New national museum in Delhi: Indian, French officials discuss 'next steps' in this cooperation

France will partner with India for the ambitious new National Museum in Delhi, and a top French official and a team of experts have discussed the "next steps in this cooperation", the country's embassy here said on Tuesday.

New Delhi | France will partner with India for the ambitious new National Museum in Delhi, and a top French official and a team of experts have discussed the "next steps in this cooperation", the country's embassy here said on Tuesday.

The upcoming Yuge Yugeen Bharat National Museum -- billed to be the largest museum in the world -- will have eight thematic segments telling the story of India spanning over 5,000 years.

The new museum, to be housed in the North Block and South Block in the heart of the country's capital, will cover an area of 1.17 lakh sqm with 950 rooms spread over a basement and three storeys, Indian officials had earlier said.

The French Embassy in India, in a post on X, said, "As announced by President @EmmanuelMacron and PM @NarendraModi, France will partner with India for the ambitious new National Museum in #NewDelhi. Yesterday, @lechevallierAS & a team of experts discussed the next steps in this cooperation & visited the upcoming museum site." Aurélien Lechevallier, Director General for Global Affairs and Cultural and Economic Diplomacy, and the team of experts visited the site of the planned new museum on Monday.

The French embassy also shared pictures of a meeting in which Lechevallier and other representatives from the France's side and Union Cultural Secretary Govind Mohan and other officials from the culture ministry from India's side were present.

"Following the letter of intent on museum and heritage cooperation signed on 28 January 2020, India and France will explore the possibilities and mechanism for France to be a 'knowledge partner' in the creation of a new National Museum in Delhi," the two countries had said in a joint statement in May 2022.

French President Emmanuel Macron had hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on a brief working visit to Paris on May 4, 2022.

The French Embassy, in a statement on Tuesday, said Lechevallier co-chaired the Joint Working Group on Museology to further France's contribution in this strategic field of the bilateral cultural cooperation, which includes collaboration in the development and management of museums, conservation and display of artifacts, and enhancing visitor experience.

"An important topic on the agenda was India's project to create a new National Museum in New Delhi. As per the Letter of Intent signed on the occasion of Prime Minister Modi's visit to France in July 2023, France will be India's partner on this project through its national agency France Muséums Développement," it said.

Together with a delegation of museum experts, Lechevallier visited the North and South Block sites, where the new museum will be located, the statement said.

The statement added that Lechevallier, Director General for Global Affairs and Cultural and Economic Diplomacy, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and G7/G20 Sous-Sherpa of France, on Monday "visited India to participate in the Governing Council meeting of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and advance Indo-French cooperation on culture and global commons".

On this occasion, CDRI announced Lechevallier as the new Co-chair of its Governing Council, for a period of two years (2024-2026).

Lechevallier thereafter chaired the Governing Council meeting together with CDRI's Permanent Co-chair, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, the statement said.

France's candidacy to the CDRI co-chairship was first announced during President Macron's State Visit to India in January 2024. France's commitment to CDRI, along with its co-chairship of the International Solar Alliance and its work with India on implementing the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, demonstrates how the Indo-French partnership for the planet seeks to advance cohesion in the world and deliver solutions to our common challenges", it added.

Lechevallier also took the opportunity of this trip to follow up on the implementation of the “Partnership for the Planet” pillar of the France-India Horizon 2047 Roadmap that was adopted by President Macron and Prime Minister Modi during the latter's visit to France on July 14, 2023, the statement said.

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