India to be Guest of Honor Country at Saudi National Festival

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation to the opening ceremony of Saudi Arabia's Janadriyah Festival.


India has been invited as the guest of honor country to the Janadriyah Festival, Saudi Arabia’s National Heritage and Culture Festival, scheduled to be held from Feb. 7-24, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

“We greatly value our close and deep rooted civilizational and strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This relationship got further impetus and new direction after the historical visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Kingdom in 2016. The Kingdom is also home to more than 3 million-strong Indian Community. I have no doubt that India’s participation in this festival will take our relationship to new heights,” Gen. VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said on Feb. 4.

The Indian delegation will be led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who will attend the opening ceremony of the 32nd Saudi National Festival on Feb. 7. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is the Industry & Execution partner for executing India Pavilion at the Janadriyah Festival.

The Indian pavilion will feature glimpses of traditional and modern India, involving displays and presentations by ministries/departments such as Indian Ordnance Factories Board, ISRO, Ministry of AYUSH, India Tourism board, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Textiles, Handicrafts Promotion Council, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Skill development, Digital India, Make in India, etc.

On display during the 18-day event will be Indian folklore, food, calligraphy, classical Indian dance forms, as well as stalls of Indians companies.

“Govt. of India is giving importance to Janadriyah Festival, as Saudi Arabia is at a critical junction in its history and is undergoing a period of transition which may lead to major structural changes, both, politically and economically in Saudi Arabia as well as in the region,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

“I have no doubt that a visit to the India Pavilion will leave everyone mesmerized and will give a taste of India to our Saudi friends which they will remember for many years to come,” Singh said.

Janadriyah is a celebration of Saudi Arabia’s culture and heritage. The annual event includes highlights such as a camel race, local music and dancing and more.

In another display of the growing relationship between India and Saudi Arabia, King Salman himself is likely to visit the country later this year. The kingdom has also acquired a new embassy in New Delhi, housed in a 17,500 sq.m complex. It is likely that King Salman will inaugurate the embassy building.

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