Signature by Leonard Orban and Daggubati Purandeswari, Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, of a declaration on multilingualism
End production: 06/03/2009 First transmission: 06/03/2009
Leonard Orban, Member of the EC in charge of Multilingualism, signed a Joint Declaration on multilingualism with the Government of India, represented by Daggubati Purandeswari, Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development. With this Declaration the European Commission and the Government of India aim to reinforce their cooperation and dialogue on key issues, including: linguistic diversity and intercultural dialogue, the impact of languages on employment, business competitiveness and social cohesion, lifelong language learning, new technologies for language learning, and terminology.
This Joint Declaration is a follow-up to the EU/India Summit in Marseille on 29 September 2008, where EU and Indian leaders committed themselves to developing a dialogue on the promotion of languages, intercultural dialogue and multilingualism. A first step towards this dialogue was achieved in December 2008 with the conference on "Multilingualism and Cultural Dialogue in Globalisation" that took place in New Delhi in the context of the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.
With a population of approximately 1.1 billion people, India represents a unique example of ethnic, socio-cultural and religious diversity that brings with it a very rich linguistic diversity. According to the 2001 Census Report, there are 29 languages spoken by more than a million native speakers, 122 languages with at least 10,000 speakers and another 234 languages spoken by a smaller number. The Indian Constitution declares Hindi to be the official language of the union. English may be used for official purposes and the country has 22 official regional languages. This rich linguistic diversity has been a fact of life throughout India's history and it is considered locally to be quite natural.
This similarity in the linguistic landscape with the European Union makes India a privileged interlocutor for Europe in the field of multilingualism. This Joint Declaration makes provision for regular debate and exchange of good practices.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Daggubati Purandeswari, Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, welcomed by Leonard Orban, Member of the EC in charge of Multilingualism
||Signature of the joint declaration by Daggubati Purandeswari and Leonard Orban (3 shots)
||Cutaway of Indian flag
||SOUNDBITE by Daggubati Purandeswari (in ENGLISH): we need to send a clear message that all our languages are equally important and that we are bound to support all of them irrespective of their official status; India is essentially a multilingual country, where linguistic diversity is a part of our historical, cultural heritage, and an integral feature of its nation building philosophy; this provides a challenge and an opportunity for the education planners who want to treat societal multilingualism as a dynamic resource shared across numerous interacting communities.
||SOUNDBITE Leonard Orban (in ENGLISH): the joint declaration we already signed, renews our commitment in closer cooperation in the field of multilingualism, and the promotion of language skills; it will allow us to engage in deeper exchanges in this area; it will allow us to learn from each other; I can tell you that we have to learn a lot from your experience; I know that we can learn a lot; your experience in coping with linguistic diversity is unique in the world.
||SOUNDBITE Leonard Orban (in ENGLISH): we see the main basis of our dialogue with India as being threefold; firstly, regular exchanges of best practice and expertise; secondly, mutual learning through seminars and conferences; thirdly, the building of administrative links between the European Commission and the Ministry for Human Resource Development, as well as other Indian authorities.
||Daggubati Purandeswari and Leonard Orban shaking hands (2 shots)