Janadriyah Festival, the prestigious annual ‘National Heritage and Cultural Festival’ of Saudi Arabia was inaugurated by King Salman in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday. 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.
Speaking at the inaugural function of Janadriyah, the External Affairs Minister thanked Saudi Arabia for according the honour and recalled the landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 which gave strong impetus to the bilateral partnership. She added that the Janadriyah Festival provides an opportunity to showcase and further build upon this relationship.
The India Pavilion mounted on the occasion of Janadriyah fest is based on the theme “Saudi ka Dost Bharat”.
The Pavilion 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 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 in the day, 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. She called for taking the strategic partnership to a higher level and in a variety of sectors. 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 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 addressed a large gathering of Indian community on 6th February.
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.