On one hand where “socio-cultural diversity of India draws itstrength from India’s composite culture and civilizational thrust_” most serious challenges, which the country is facing in moderntimes, are of socio-religious or socio-cultural in nature.
Over centuries “India’sculture has evolved through the process of assimilation and amalgamation”,which also gets reflected in its internal and external policies (Muni inRupesinghe 1996). Similar is the case of Russia, though very rich in terms ofcultural heritage, traditional beliefs, cultural diversity, and has evolvedthrough the process of assimilation, the major challenge it is facing is at thecultural front. Therefore, the root cause of majority of disputes, directly orindirectly, remains associated with cultural diversity within a country orbetween the nations.
Whereas at the administrative levels it has been realizedthat, “Interethnic harmony is one of Country’s key requisites” (Putin 2012).The current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi also considers the culturaldiversity as the strength of a nation, which was highlighted in his weeklyprogram “Man ki Baat” that, “India is a diverse country. People of differentcastes, religion, different languages, different cultures are the strength ofthe country” (2015). On the plurality of culture and ethnicity V. Putin pointedout “Historically Russia has been neither a mono-ethnic state nor a US-style”melting pot” most people are in some way migrant. Russia developed overcenturies as a multinational state in which different ethnic groups have had tomingle, interact and connect with each other – in domestic and professionalenvironments, and in society as friends” (Putin 2012). Consequently, culturaldiversity, of both the countries, is a result of amalgamation and assimilationof diverse ethno-cultural groups through centuries. The first image of India among Russians dates back Romanov in1890-1891_, and Afanasy Nikitin’s “Journey beyond Three Seas” (1469 1472).
However, this ‘image of India’ was based on the observations made by individualtravellers. Slowly, with the development of culture and its use as a tool offoreign policy it started playing an important role in strengthening relationbetween nations. With time further development of relations between the twocountries changed the image and role of culture. Use of culture in promotingcultural diplomacy as “deployment of a State’s culture in support of itsforeign policy goals” is a development of 19th – 20th century (Pratap 2015:56).
As the term “culture” is vast, therefore the question is which all aspectsof culture should be projected which will not only enhance the country’s imagebut will contribute towards the improvement in their cultural ties? Hence, atthe outset it is important to redefine culture, cultural diversity and culturalrelations between the countries?