Bali (Indonesia), Nov.29 : Addressing prominent citizens of the Indonesian tourist resort town of Bali, visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today recalled the historical ties between her country and Indonesia, and added that every opportunity must be availed to enhance this deep understanding and empathy.
Highlighting the fact that trade and cultural contacts between the two countries went back to two millennia, Patil said she was aware of the rich cultural heritage of Bali.
She said: "Your arts and crafts, your performing arts and your social and cultural traditions are alive and well preserved. The Balinese are an outstandingly artistic and talented people. They give a unique character and flavour to Balinese society, adding to the natural beauty of the island. It is for these reasons it is said: Bali Dwipa Jaya - "Glorious Bali Island".
She further said: "We share common elements and themes in our cultural traditions, the result of our long historical association. Even today, in the State of Orissa in Eastern India, the local people celebrate a festival called "The Bali Yatra" in the months of October or November to commemorate the departure of traders from Orissa to Bali. We would like to strengthen our cultural exchanges with the people of Bali."
She said that the Indian Cultural Centre in Bali is at the centre of India's efforts to build closer cultural bonds with Balinese people.
"We were pleased to receive earlier this year a Ramayana troupe which performed in the Ramayana Festival in India. An Indian cultural troupe performed the "Bali Yatra" in the Bali Arts Festival in June this year. I am confident that the Centre will continue with its good work in building linkages," she said.
She ended her speech with the traditional Balinese salutation,"Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om". By Ravinder Singh Robin