New Delhi, Jan 2 (PTI) A total number of 26 Hindi chairs have been established in various countries and fellowships for research in the language are offered to foreign nationals of all the countries, the Lok Sabha was told Wednesday.

Noting that the promotion of Hindi in foreign countries was a high-priority area for the External Affairs Ministry, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said 27 teachers were sent to Indian missions, posts and cultural centres in 2018-19, of which 21 were supported by the MEA’s Hindi Division and six by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Singh said a total of a total of 26 Hindi chairs have been established by the ICCR in various foreign countries.

Scholarships to study Hindi at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels, and fellowships for research in Hindi are offered to foreign nationals of all the countries, the minister said in a written reply.

The Hindi Division of the MEA supports Hindi teaching in foreign universities, schools and other educational institutions by providing books, teaching aids, honorarium to teachers for teaching the language in missions, financial support and grant to the institutions and organisations involved in its propagation and promotion abroad, he added.

He said the ICCR provided scholarships to the foreign students to learn Hindi in India. This includes monthly stipend, monthly house-rent allowance, tuition and compulsory fees, annual contingency (book) allowance and medical reimbursement on Central Government Health Scheme rates.

In response to another question, Singh said 93 ambassadors, 32 high commissioners and five permanent representatives were posted in various Indian missions in foreign countries.

“The post of ambassador in Slovak Republic has fallen vacant in December 2018 and is in the process of being filled. The mission is currently headed at the level of charge d’affaires. Indian Mission to Yemen has temporarily relocated to Djibouti and is also headed at the level of charge d’affaires,” he said.

“There are 127 ambassadors or high commissioners or permanent representatives belonging to Indian Foreign Service and one belonging to Indian Administrative Service,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.