Riyadh: The deep-rooted historic friendship that binds Saudi Arabia and India through centuries have found a better place in the pavilion of India, the guest of honor country at the 32nd National Festival for Heritage and Culture at the Janadriya village that opened on Wednesday near Riyadh.
India’s pavilion includes corners for Indian perfumes, weaving, Arabic calligraphy and manuscripts, embassy building in Riyadh with several books, a yoga complex and an exhibition of Indian industries (Make in India) featuring some of the automotive, space and satellite industries, food and weapons industry, as well as a theater where some Indian folk dances will be staged throughout the festival.
The pavilion also showcased many tourist destinations in India as well as the cultural, social and traditional exhibits that reflect the rich culture and heritage of India.
Thousands of Saudi and expatriate visitors thronged the pavilion on Thursday that showcased exhibits, including rare photographs peeping into the rich inter-cultural bonds, Arabic calligraphy and manuscripts popular in India, and Indian perfumes that have wide acceptance in the Kingdom.
Thursday was the first day of the festival set for the public.
After opening the pavilion on Wednesday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and other dignitaries toured the pavilion.
India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Ambassador to the Kingdom Ahmad Javed and other officials and diplomats received the King.
The King watched the photo gallery highlighting the history of the distinct relations between Saudi Arabia and India and the bond of friendship.
Minister of National Guard and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Festival Prince Khalid Bin Abdulaziz Bin Ayyaf, Deputy Minister of National Guard Abdul Mohsen Al-Tuwaijri and other senior officials accompanied the King.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, who also toured the pavilion, met with Swaraj on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the festival. The minister was briefed on the major exhibits that shed light on the historic ties between the two great nations.
On Thursday, Minister of National Guard Ayyad met Swaraj at his office in Riyadh. They exchanged cordial talks and discussed issues of mutual concern. India’s participation in Janadriya as the guest of honor country also came up for discussion during their meeting.
Earlier, addressing the opening ceremony of the festival, Swaraj thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and the whole Saudi leadership for giving this honor to India.
“We are the two main pillars of security and stability in the region and our cooperation is important for the peace and stability of the region,” she said.
Swaraj highly valued the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program of 2020, and highlighted their role in the Kingdom’s economic and social transformation and development.
Recalling the historic ties between the people of the two countries that date back thousands of years, she noted that more than three million Indians are taking part in the Kingdoms’ economic development.
Emphasizing Saudi Arabia’s role as an important stabilizing factor for the region and the world, she noted that the historic visits of King Salman to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia were instrumental in catapulting the strategic ties between the two great nations to new heights.
She said that the historic visit of King Salman to India was an important cornerstone in strengthening the strategic partnership while the visit of Modi to Riyadh added momentum to further strengthen bilateral relations.
The festival runs for 21 days at the Janadriya village. It was open for men for four days from Thursday and will be restricted to families from Monday onwards. The visitors’ timing is from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on all days except Friday. The visitors will be allowed from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Fridays.
The festival is expected to draw millions of visitors from the Kingdom, the Gulf region and other places.In 2017, the festival drew a total of about 6.8 million visitors.
This year’s festival boasts of several unique features, and these included setting up of permanent area for offering cultural programs and activities of other Gulf states throughout the festival, and the display of models of Saudi urban heritage and famous handicrafts.
The Ministry of Interior is taking part in the festival with the participation of 18 security sectors that are introducing to the visitors their highly advanced technological devices, which are being employed in carrying out their mission.
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