Kuala Lumpur, June 3 : The Malaysian Government hopes that local and Indian businessmen will use the Global Indian Shopping Festival being held here as an opportunity to further strengthen business activities.
Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Shafie Apdal said this while inaugurating the weeklong festival at the exhibition centre at the Mid Valley Megamall here on Monday.
Also present was the Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ashok K. Kantha.
Shafie said that culture, arts and heritage was not something to be hidden away in museums or galleries, but should take its rightful place as an integral part of economic activity.
"It is necessary that culture should continue to be a part of the daily lives of everyone, to remain vibrant and meaningful," he added.
Earlier, Ashok said the festival had two main objectives -- promoting trade as well as tourism, the NST Online reported.
In the first quarter of this year, India's trade with Malaysia increased by 48 per cent while the number of tourists from India increased by 50 per cent, to 420,000, compared with the same period last year.
This year's festival saw participants from Thailand, Iran, Nepal, South Africa, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka, apart from Malaysia and India.