Address by the President of the House of Representatives, Mr Demetris Syllouris, at the Cultural Festival organized by the High Commission of India
It is always a great honour and pleasure to have the opportunity to address events organized by the High Commission of India, with which we have an excellent working relationship and, more so, on this occasion, when the celebrations concern the Indian Cultural Festival in association with the Indian Diaspora in Cyprus.
I must thank the High Commissioner of India to Cyprus, Ms Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, for inviting me to take part in today’s celebrations. An occasion indeed, for all of us to enjoy the many aspects of the Indian culture, be it music, theatre, food or dance, which are truly world-renowned and to rejoice in their vivid colourfulness, representing the very essence and soul of India.
In celebrating this rich and diverse culture, at a festival here in Cyprus, we celebrate at the same time the solid and friendly ties between Cyprus and India. Through the years, our two countries and peoples have both suffered from a turbulent history of conflict, crisis and struggle for freedom and independence. Through these similar agonies, emerged a strong friendship, founded on mutual respect and commitment to democratic ideals and values, as well as on our common aim to work for peace and prosperity for our citizens. We shall continue to enhance this cooperation even further in a multitude of fields, including educational and cultural exchanges.
I look forward to the opportunity of appreciating samples of India’s inspirational legacy, including the legendary Taj Mahal, during my upcoming official visit there, in mid-March, following the kind invitation of His Excellency Mr Om Birla, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament. Visiting the land of charismatic leader Mahatma Gandhi, one always seeks enlightment and more so now, that the world is facing a variety of challenges and predicaments. I am hopeful that my first visit as President of the House to India, will set new foundations to enhance our existing cooperation, in even more fields, including the many and diverse aspects of culture. Culture can be the basis on which a vision of wellbeing, progress and prosperity towards our societies and the generations to come can be solidly formed. Through culture and the dialogue and cooperation it can foster, we can secure that a world of peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and non-violence prevails. Upholding these ideals is the best way to honour and celebrate Indian culture. This is what we came here to do today. I thank the organizers for this opportunity and I thank all of you who came here to share what promises to be a joyful and invaluable experience.
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