Moscow, Nov 10 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the year-long festivals of India and Russia, celebrated in both countries, will further strengthen the bonds of traditional friendship between the two countries.
''The Year of Russia and India is an important joint effort to further strengthen the understanding and bonds of friendship at the people-to-people level,'' the Prime Minister was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency before his two-day visit to here scheduled on November 11-12.
''The 'Year of Russia' in India will be inaugurated in 2008 after my visit to Moscow. In January 2007, it was in President Putin's and my presence that the Protocol on holding the 'Year of Russia' in India in 2008 and the 'Year of India' in Russia in 2009 was signed in New Delhi,'' he said.
He said the co-Chairmen of the respective Organizing Committees - Dr Karan Singh, the President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Mr Alexander Zhukov, Russian Deputy Prime Minister met in early October 2007 in Moscow and finalized the contours of the programme for the Year of Russia in India in 2008.
''The events will encompass diverse fields of human endeavor, including art and culture, science and technology, and economy and industry,'' Singh said, adding exhibitions, trade fairs, industry and media interactions, scientific exhibitions, seminars, books fairs, film festivals, and fashion and food events will form part of the Year of Russia in India, involving federal and regional governments on both sides.
''The mass media has a critical role in publicizing the events.
The mass media should in fact become part of the festivities. It should contribute to overcoming all barriers of language,'' the PM noted.