Swaraj meets Saudi King Salman, inaugurates cultural festival

ANI | Updated: Feb 08, 2018 02:31 IST

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], Feb 8 (ANI): External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz who inaugurated the prestigious annual National Heritage and Culture Festival 'Janadriyah'.

"The prestigious annual 'National Heritage and Cultural Festival' of Saudi Arabia, Janadriyah Festival, was inaugurated by Saudi King Salman in the presence of External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said in a statement">statement.

"Giving due recognition to the strategic partnership, close ties and historical linkages between the two countries, for the first time, India was accorded the 'Guest of Honour' status at the [Janadriyah] Festival," the statement">statement added.

Speaking at the inaugural function, Sushma Swaraj thanked Saudi Arabia for according the honour and recalled the landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Kingdom in April 2016 which "gave strong impetus to the bilateral partnership."

The minister added that this Festival "provides an opportunity to showcase and further build upon this relationship."

The India Pavilion mounted on the occasion is based on the theme "Saudi ka Dost Bharat". The statement">statement stated that it showcases the core values and traditions of India and presents a kaleidoscope of India's vibrant culture through a colourful dance and music extravaganza.

The statement">statement also threw light on the facts that the section on 'Tradition' has on display, traditional strengths like Yoga, Ayurveda, textiles and tourism while the 'Modern Section' coined as 'Opportunities in India' showcases the digital revolution, achievements in Space and defence technologies as well as Flagship programmes like 'Digital India', Make in India' etc.

Earlier, the Minister held bilateral discussions with the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir and discussed wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

"She re-affirmed India's support to peace in the region and called for collective efforts in fighting the menace of terrorism," the statement">statement said.

She said that "India's flagship programmes including 'Make in India', 'Digital India' complement well with 'Vision 2030' launched by Saudi Arabia and invited Saudi investments in India," the statement">statement added.

The External Affairs Minister called on King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and thanked him for according India the honour at the festival.

Both expressed satisfaction at the strength and depth of bilateral relationship. The Minister also thanked the Saudi King for ensuring welfare and well being of large Indian community in Saudi Arabia, the statement">statement read.

The Minister also addressed a large gathering of Indian community on February 6.

About 3.2 million strong and vibrant Indian community in Saudi Arabia forms the largest expatriate group. Saudi Arabia is also the fourth largest trading partner for India with bilateral trade exceeding US$ 25 billion in 2016-17. (ANI)

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