NE Festival paves way for cultural exchange between India, Vietnam

Dignitaries from India and Vietnam during the inaugural of the North East India Festival at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on October 27. (IANS Photo)

Dignitaries from India and Vietnam during the inaugural of the North East India Festival at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on October 27. (IANS Photo)

New Delhi, October 27 (IANS): The North East India Festival officially commenced today in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, marking the beginning of a momentous event that aims to strengthen the ties between India and Vietnam in the world of academics, trade, business, and culture. The festival opened its doors to a distinguished assembly of critical stakeholders, including chief ministers, union ministers, and entrepreneurs, hailing from both the nations.

The inaugural programme witnessed the participation of several notable personalities and associations from various provinces in Vietnam, underscoring the significance of the event. Key dignitaries present included Tran Phuoc Anh, Director General of the Department of External Relations in Ho Chi Minh City, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam, and Nguyen Long Bien, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuan Province, among others. This grand assembly, from both India and Vietnam, highlighted the collaborative spirit of the festival.

The opening day's programme was a harmonious blend of culture and diplomacy. Ambassador H.E. Sandeep Arya, India’s Ambassador to Vietnam, delivered the opening remarks, setting the tone for the festival. Special remarks were also shared by MOS (RRS) RK Ranjan, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, and Tran Phuoc Anh, Director of External Relations in Ho Chi Minh City.

The day featured enlightening talks on various destinations, including Assam, Arunachal, Meghalaya, and Nagaland, presented by government officials and experts, emphasising the unique attractions of these regions. The festival's cultural segment was brought to a magnificent close with a Drum Ensemble performance of the traditional music of tribes of Meghalaya, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo tribes. The inaugural day concluded with a remark by Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in HCMC.

The second day of North East India Festival, scheduled for October 28, promises to be equally impressive, featuring the Incredible India Exhibition with a dedicated textile zone, and state-specific exhibition zones from various North Eastern states of India. The day will also host discussions on trade and investment opportunities, the handloom and handicraft industry, and investible projects in the North East Region.

Shyamkanu Mahanta, Chief Organiser of the North East India Festival, shared his vision for the event, saying, "The entire programme is deeply rooted in the Act East Policy. Last year, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi highlighted in his address how the North East India Festival held in Bangkok played a pivotal role in boosting the connections between India and Bangkok, significantly strengthening ties in South East Asia. This year, in Vietnam, we are placing a special emphasis on cultural exchange.

 Our vision extends to encompass educational and trade exchange programmes. What began as a platform for the North East has now blossomed into one of India's largest forums, promoting not only cultural exchange but also propelling trade, commerce, education, tourism, and more. This marks the first time Vietnam is witnessing a festival of such magnitude and scale. We are enthusiastic and optimistic about witnessing tangible outcomes from this initiative.”

The festival's diverse programme includes an Investment and Trade Session, a Tourism B2B Meet, and a People-to-People Exchange Meet, with the aim of nurturing academic exchange, promoting educational programmes, and enhancing cultural understanding between India and Vietnam. The Investment and Trade Session will facilitate interactions between the DoNER Ministry, Invest India, and the Investor’s Community of Vietnam, paving the way for long-term business relationships.

A spectacular fashion show, featuring the top-notch designers of North East India, will take center stage, showcasing the region's rich fabrics and designs. The festival will also feature musical performances and cultural showcases, promising an immersive experience for all attendees.