H.E. Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, former President of Indonesia, inaugurates Sabahat India – The Festival of India

Indian embassy in Jakarta

Indian embassy in Jakarta

Sahabat India 2015 – The Festival of India in Indonesia got off to a glittering start on the occasion of the 66th Republic Day of India with a mesmerizing performance by world renowned Grammy Award winning musician Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt at the Jakarta Theatre on 26th January. The festival was inaugurated by H. E. Ms. Megawati Soekarnoputri, former President of Indonesia and Chairperson of PDI-P, in the presence of Minister of Trade H. E. Mr. Rachmat Gobel and H. E. Mr. Gurjit Singh, Ambassador of India to Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

The packed auditorium was enthralled by the Mohan Veena maestro Pandit Bhatt and accompanying tabla maestro Pandit Ram Kumar Mishra. Audience comprised of political and business leaders, Ambassadors and diplomats, senior Indonesian officials, Indian nationals and Persons of Indian Origin. Among notable Indonesian personalities present in the audience were Minister for Manpower and Transmigration H. E. Mr. M. Hanif Dhakiri, Golkar Leader Mr. Aburizal Bakri, fashion designer Didiet Maulana, celebrity chef Farah Quinn, famous singer Titiek Puspa and travel blogger Trinity.

Chief Guest for the evening Ms. Soekarnoputri in her remarks recalled the glorious trade and cultural ties between the two countries as also the deep, abiding friendship between India and Indonesia in different dimensions. She touched an emotional chord with the audience as she fondly recalled how India was the first country to acknowledge Indonesia’s independence. She expressed the hope that the Festival of India will rekindle the spirit of camaraderie between the peoples of the two countries, especially among the youth.

Ambassador Gurjit Singh, India's Ambassador to Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor Leste

Ambassador Gurjit Singh, India’s Ambassador to Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor Leste

Minister of Trade Rahmat Gobel conveyed the greetings of the Government and the people of Indonesia, and hailed the steady growth in bilateral trade and investment as reflection of the dynamism in the relationship. He hoped that the decision to launch negotiations on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement would further contribute to growth in mutual trade and investment, and mentioned the firm resolve of Indonesian President H. E. Mr. Joko Widodo and Prime Minister of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi to work towards fructifying the strategic partnership.

Ambassador Gurjit Singh in his welcome remarks hailed the Sahabat India Festival as the most ambitious cultural outreach initiative by the Embassy ever undertaken in Indonesia. The festival that celebrates the myriad colours of India through a mélange of folk music and dance, classical performances, cinema, food and fashion, education and literary fairs, business and trade delegations, art and artisans, paintings and sculptures, will travel to 16 cities in Indonesia over the next four months.

The event started with the rendering of the National Anthems of India and Indonesia by school children of Gandhi Memorial Indonesian School, Jakarta. A photographic exhibitions depicting friendship between India and Indonesia since the days of President Soekarno till now, and another one by Benoy K. Behl on ‘Islamic Monuments in India.