Singapore's role important in India's relations with ASEAN: Soni

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Singapore, Apr 5 (UNI) India recognises Singapore's important role in its relations with the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), a regional grouping of 10 countries that is it working to further strengthen bilateral trade and cultural exchanges, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said here today.

Speaking at the launch of Incredible India @ 60 cultural show, Ms Soni noted that Singapore's multiculturalism, pluralism and secularism resonated with India's own ethos and had helped in the growing ties between the two countries.

''The two countries are also cooperating in the revival of Nalanda University,''she pointed out.

The Minister led 75 artistes from all over India, including craftspersons and folk artists who had had come to Singapore, at the launch of the show at the city state's fashionable Orchard Road tourist belt.

The Incredible India @ 60 campaign in Singapore is jointly organised by the Indian Government and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from April 4 to 7, with both economic and cultural components.

Singapore Minister of Communications, Information and The Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang said the Cultural Festival is a good opportunity to showcase India's cultural heritage and for Singaporeans to better understand and appreciate the richness and diversity of India's arts and culture.

''This is particularly relevant to us as many Singaporeans can trace their ancestry back to their Indian roots,'' he said in his address as guest of honour at the event.

''India is a country with an ancient and deep rooted culture which stretches back to almost 5,000 years. This ancient heritage forms the bedrock and underpins the country's arts and culture,'' observed Dr Lee.

Singapore and India enjoy close and fruitful cultural ties. We have regular exchanges at both the government and community levels, he noted.

''We are particularly appreciative and grateful for India's support for such cultural exchanges which are important for our thriving arts and culture scene,'' he told a gathering of Indian and Singapore officials and a crowd of internatinal tourists.

He pointed out that Singapore's Asian Civilisation Museum's recent exhibition on 'The Nalanda Trail: Buddhism in India, China and Southeast Asia' was made possible with rare and significant loans of artifacts from the Indian Government.

UNI XC SLD RK2003

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