Friends from the media, colleagues:
Let me extend a very warm welcome to all of you to this special occasion on this beautiful spring evening when we have gathered for the launch of the logo of the Glimpses of India Festival in the Year of Friendly Exchanges.
The year 2013 was an especially significant year which witnessed impressive development of relations between India and China. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had two very productive meetings with President Xi Jinping last year. For the first time since 1954, the two Prime Ministers exchanged bilateral visits within the same calendar year. This close dialogue between our leaders imparted a fresh momentum to our relations. Prime Minister Singh and Premier Li Keqiang jointly decided to designate 2014 as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between India and China.
This year, we are building on these strong foundations. We had an excellent beginning when Vice President Li Yuanchao launched the Year of Friendly Exchanges at the national day reception hosted by me on 24th January. Together with our Chinese friends, we have planned a series of activities and exchanges throughout the year. The calendar of events includes high-level visits, bilateral dialogues, defence cooperation, engagements in the fields of trade and economy, and a rich menu of cultural, educational and people-to-people contacts. Several important exchanges have already been held this year, including the Strategic Economic Dialogue, the Strategic Dialogue and the Annual Defence Dialogue. I have just returned from Qingdao, where one of our naval ships participated in the Multilateral Maritime Exercise hosted by the PLA Navy as part of its 65th anniversary celebrations.
Media, of course, is a significant aspect of our outreach activities. Encouraged by the success of the first India-China High Level Media Forum hosted in New Delhi last year, we propose to hold the second Media Forum in Beijing this year.
A very special feature of the Year of Friendly Exchanges will be the ‘Glimpses of India Festival’ being organized in twelve cities of China by the Embassy of India, Beijing and our Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. It is being sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India. We are fortunate to get active support of the Chinese Government, local authorities and several partner institutions in China. We want it to be a truly collaborative endeavour.
The ‘Glimpses of India Festival’ will showcase Indian performing arts, an exhibition of modern Indian art, an exhibition of Buddhist artefacts and heritage and their linkages with China, food festivals and film festivals, as well as events involving eminent Indian and Chinese scholars and writers. We will have a special focus on promotion of economic and commercial links and two-way tourist flows.
The Festival commences this week with an investment promotion seminar featuring the state of Maharashtra of India. This will be followed by dance performances in May by the renowned Chennai-based Kalakshetra Troupe in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. An Indian food festival will also be organized in four Chinese cities. More activities will follow. The Glimpses of India Festival will continue until early next year.
Keeping in view the importance attached to the Year of Friendly Exchanges, we have developed a dedicated logo to highlight the Glimpses of India Festival. This colourful logo signifies the centuries-old civilizational bonds between India and China. As you can see, it is inspired by the Kathakali and Beijing Opera art forms of India and China. This specially-designed logo portrays the seamless blending of Indian and Chinese cultures, highlighting the long tradition of friendship, harmonious exchange and cooperation between our two nations.
We believe that the Glimpses of India Festival will reinforce the foundations of India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership, enhance understanding of Indian art, culture and society among the people of China, and contribute to maintaining the momentum in our bilateral relations.
I invite our friends from the media circles to participate in various events linked to the Festival.