India and UAE share age-old cultural ties which have been further strengthened by regular cultural exchange and frequent interactions between the two nations. Cultural Agreement of 1975 provides the basic framework for cooperation. UAE’s Ministry of Culture and organizations, such as Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), have been close partners in organizing Indian cultural events including Indian Film Festival in November 2008, SAARC Film Festival in March 2009, and the Indian Paintings Exhibition -‘Spectrum’ in November 2009. Affiliated institutions of ADACH, such as Ketab and Kalima, have also been assisting in translation of some prominent Indian books into Arabic.
An Indian Cultural Centre was inaugurated by ICCR in the premises of the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi in December 2009. The Cultural Centre organised several cultural activities and conducted various programmes in the fields of performing arts, seminars on diverse topics, India festival celebrations, exhibitions on diverse themes, propagation of yoga, etc. Prominent events organized by the Culture Centre in recent years include handicraft bazaar ‘Discover India’ in February 2011; poetry reading session by Dr. Satchidanandan, an Indian poet, and its Arabic Translations by Arabic poet Dr. Shihab Ghanem; a seminar on November 22-23, 2011 on ‘Arab –Indo relations through the ages in History, Art & Culture’ (with special emphasis on UAE) in collaboration with Culture & Media Centre for H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan; recitals by Sufiana qawwali group and baul troupe; theatre by Katyayani troupe; three-day film festival in April, 2012; retrospective of films of Shyam Benegal in October 2012., talks by Ms Shehnaz Hussain in March 2013 and Dr. Anil Kakodkar in January 2014. A 16-member Bhangra Dance group performed in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah & other Emirate cities from November 30 to December 6, 2013. Guru Sasi Kottakkal & his disciple Ms. Renuka Sajiv Kumar presented Bharatnatyam dance on December 13, 2013. Shri Subhash Ghosh along with his group performed ‘Fusion Raaga’ – classic music blended western rhythm- during the Republic Day celebrations 2014. Pt. Prahlad Tipania and his group performed the songs of Kabir Bhajans on January 30, 2014. A musical evening of Ms. Sutapa Talukar and Ms. Pratmita Mallick was organized on February 7, 2014 to commemorate the birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda. A photo exhibition on the Islamic monuments of India was held from March 27 – April 2, 2014 at the Islamic Centre of Abu Dhabi. In addition, the Embassy has initiated Lecture series on significant and themes under which a renowned person of a specific field enlightens on the subject matter. Talks my Ms. Shehnaz Hussain in March 2013 and by Dr. Anil Kakodkar in January, 2014 are noteworthy in this regard. The Embassy also encourages and facilitates different Indian associations in UAE to hold events on diverse cultural themes and subjects such as dance, performing arts etc. by extending them logistical facilities such as auditorium to hold such events. Smt Padmini Rao concert held in June 2014 represents one such event which was held in the Embassy premises. From 27 to 31 August, 2014 an art exhibition was held at India House which showcased the works of eminent artists from India.