BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said, India is always interested for the growth of commerce, improvement in connectivity and culture of the South East Asian countries. Inaugurating the international conference, Purbasa: East meets East, Pradhan said such initiatives will, hopefully, lead to an enhanced dialogue between the people and culture of these countries and India - a dialogue that is yet to achieve its best potential.
The Union Minister said dedication of Anand Bhawan to the nation as a museum on legendary Biju Patnaik, who had played a key role in the independence of Indonesia, by president Ram Nath Kovind is a pleasant co-incidence. He said the Dakota aircraft should also find a place in the museum. Pradhan said people of Odisha have grown up hearing stories of people from across the ocean with whom our ancestors had trade ties. “Our mythologies, languages, religions and architecture have seeped into each other in ways that have not yet been fully understood or explored.
Drawing a comparison he said the word for ‘mother’ in Bahasa Indonesian is ‘bu’, which is ‘bou’ in Odia for us,” he said. Chairman of Kalinga International Foundation Lalit Mansingh said the East and North East should be seen as a homogeneous cultural and economic region of India, which is playing a crucial role in India’s Act East Policy.
He said because of the policy, the North-East and Eastern region of India will be in dialogue with the friendly neighbours on India’s east - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, with ASEAN partners and beyond with Australia and Japan. Minister for Buddha Sasana, Sustainable Development and Wildlife of Sri Lanka, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera; Minister for Industry and Tourism of Assam, Chandra Mohan Patowary and ambassadors of Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, High Commissioners of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and Economic Minister from Japan were also present on the inaugural event of the three-day international conference. On the occasion, Kalinga Saraswati Samman was conferred on noted scholars, V Suryanarayan for his book ‘Together in struggle: India and Indonesia, 1945-1949’ and Sudip Sen for his book ‘Pride and Glory of Bali Yatra’.