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Remarks by Ambassador of India H.E. Mr Ashok K. Kantha at the Opening of Glimpses of India Festival Kalashetra Cultural Performance in Beijing Poly Theater

Secretary Culture Government of India Mr. Ravindra Singh;

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Liu Jianchao;

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

I am delighted to welcome you to the dance performance by Kalakshetra Group under the aegis of the Glimpses of India Festival in China. We are happy to have with us today Secretary, Ministry of Culture, India, H.E. Mr. Ravindra Singh. We are honoured by the presence of Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Liu Jianchao as the Chief Guest for the evening.

Friends, this program today evening builds upon the outcomes of the two landmark visits exchanged between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Premier Li Keqiang in 2013. The two leaders designated 2014 as the Year of Friendly Exchanges between India and China. We were honoured to have Vice President Mr. Li Yuanchao launch the Year of Friendly Exchanges at India’s Republic Day Reception on 24th January.

India and China have planned a series of activities to mark this special year, including high level visits, bilateral dialogues, defence cooperation, trade and economic exchanges and cultural, educational and people to people links.  The Glimpses of India Festival is a central component of the Year of Friendly Exchanges.

The Government of India is organizing the Glimpses of India Festival in twelve cities across China through 2014.  This series of events showcases Indian performing arts, exhibitions of modern Indian arts, depictions of Buddhism links between the two countries, food and film festivals, and dialogues bringing together eminent Indian and Chinese scholars and writers.  Promotion of economic and trade ties between our two countries and two-way tourist flows will also be important part of the activities.

We believe that the Glimpses of India Festival will reinforce the foundations of India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership, enhance understanding of India art, culture and society among the people of China and contribute to maintaining the strong momentum in our bilateral relations. I would like to thank the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Culture for their support to the Glimpses of India Festival in China, making it a truly collaborative endeavor. 

It is a special privilege that the world renowned Kalashetra Performance Troupe from Chennai has agreed to travel to China for this occasion. Building on classical Indian dance forms, Kalashetra has innovated to blend India’s rich folk traditions into its dance-dramas, showcasing the wealth of our dance history to the world audience. 

I have a special connection to Kalashetra. Exactly thirty years ago, when I was posted in the Indian Embassy, it was my great privilege to interact with its founder Rukmani Devi Arundale, a legend in Indian dance, during the first visit of Kalashetra to China. I experienced first hand the magic and splendor that the troupe brings to the stage. The performances those many years ago still stand in my memory. I am confident that the performance tonight would equally resonate with the audience many years later!

Thank you.