A strong emphasis was made on the imperative of people’s diplomacy by a galaxy of distinguished speakers of a seminar aimed at marking the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Russia and India, organised at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in New Delhi on April 11, 2017. The Seminar “Russia and India: 70 Years of Friendship and Cooperation” was preceded by the inauguration of a Photo Exhibition “History of Russian-Indian Diplomatic Relations”.
In his presidential address, Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, President of Institute of Global Studies and former Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia, appreciated the remarkable work being done by both countries in different spheres of life which materialised a role model of bilateral relation in the international context. At the outset, he paid glowing tributes to the memory of late Ambassador Alexander Kadakin. Mr. Sajjanhar stressed the need for strengthening Indo-Russian relations not only beneficial to the progress of both countries, but also to the greater interest of security, prosperity and world peace.
Making his key-note address, Mr. Krishnan Raghunath, Retired Indian Foreign Secretary and former Indian Ambassador to Russia, pointed out that the glorious occasion of the 70th Anniversary of Indo-Russian Diplomatic Relations is marked by continuity, stability and tremendous goodwill. Indo-Russian relations are guided and spearheaded by commonality on approach and convergence of ideas on global issues, he noted. He underlined the importance of culture on an equal footing as defence as the strong foundation for mutual relationship, based on sensitivity, sensibility, objectivity and honesty. Appreciating the commendable cultural activities of the RCSC, Mr. Raghunath described the Centre as a towering symbol of strong Indo-Russian ties.
Tracing the century-long cultural affinity linking Russia and India, Charge d’ Affairs of the Russian Federation in India, Mr. Anatoly Kargapolov, touched upon the pride of place India has in the minds and hearts of the Russian people. You ask any person in any street of Moscow, he/she would readily respond saying that they love India, and the people of India are their best friends, he said.
Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Mr. Fedor Rozovskiy, Director, RCSC, pinpointed the decisive element in the diplomatic relations between Russia and India, in the sense that it was signed four months before the advent of India’s Independence. He explained in detail the special cultural programmes being organised by the RCSCs across the country to mark the 70th anniversary of the glorious event.
Recalling the historically unique ties between India and Russia, Major Dalbir Singh, Secretary, All India Congress Committee (AICC), said that 70 years turns out to be a fascinating journey of mutual understanding, consistent friendship and cooperation, mutually-beneficial accomplishments and achievements, etc. The phenomenal and timely help, assistance and support both in times of crisis and during peace have no parallel at all in the history of relations between nations, he said, adding that the activities covered fields such as art and culture, steel industry, oil exploration, energy sector, space science, science and technology, trade, etc., to mention but a few.
Citing chronicles such as the early visit by Afanasy Nikitin and the pioneering works of Indologists, Prof. Ramadhikari Kumar, President of the Indian Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature (INDAPRYAL), lauded the solemn efforts taken by Soviet writers in the translation of Bhagawat Gita, Kalidasa’s Sakunthalam and Panchathantra. He appreciated the interest taken in the study of Sanskrit by Russian universities. Prof. Kumar referred to the establishment of the Institute of Russian Studies in 1965 in which he was a student. The relations thus started continues manifold and much stronger today, he concluded.