Sushma Swaraj to inaugurate Saudi national cultural festival

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New Delhi/Riyadh, Feb 4 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would inaugurate Saudi Arabias annual Janadriyah Festival on Wednesday where India has been invited as “guest of honour this year”, the External Affairs Ministry said on Sunday.

Sushma Swaraj would travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at the head of a delegation and stay there till Thursday, Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj will visit Saudi Arabia from February 6-8 to inaugurate the Janadriyah Festival of Saudi Arabia on February 7,” he tweeted.

In Riyadh, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh in a joint press conference with Saudi Minister of National Guard Prince Khalid bin Abdul Aziz said that India’s participation in the festival will be multifaceted and would take relations of the two nations “to new heights”.

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He said it was a matter of “great honour for India” to be invited as Guest of Honour country for the prestigious national event that is being organised annually since 1985.

“We will have an Indian pavilion where we will project a number of Indian themes and projects. The India pavilion will comprise glimpses of traditional and modern India,” Singh said.

The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) is sending nine different cultural troupes for the cultural performances which include Kathakali, Kalariyaptu, Kathak, Manipuri, Chhau, Bhangra, Bollywood, Gujarati and Rajasthani. There will be cultural performances in all the evenings in this 18-day festival, he said.

There will be cultural performances by the Indian school children and the Indian community as well. Yoga performances have also been arranged every day. Indian movies will also be screened during the festival.

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There will be displays and presentations by ministries/departments such as Indian Ordnance Factories Board, ISRO, AYUSH Ministry, India Tourism board, Ministries of Shipping, Textiles, Food Processing Industries, Skill development, the Handicrafts Promotion Council, Digital India, Make in India etc, Singh said.

A number of Indian companies including Larsen and Toubro, Tata Motors, Jet Airways, Shapoorji Pallonji, Aster Med city, KRBL Rice and Toshi Electronic etc are also putting up their stalls in the India pavilion, he added.

“On the traditional side, India pavilion will have presentations representing our socio-cultural heritage, folklore, traditional costumes, Indian perfumes, bridal costumes, artefacts, display of specimen of calligraphy, Arabic manuscripts etc. Our Saudi friends will also be able to enjoy Indian food at the ‘Flavours of India’ booth in the pavilion.

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“We greatly value our close and deep-rooted civilizational and strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is also home to more than three million-strong Indian Community. I have no doubt that India’s participation in this festival will take our relationship to new heights,” Singh said.



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