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India holds festival in HCMC

By Dat Thanh

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HCMC – India opened the third edition of the North East Indian Festival in HCMC on October 27, highlighting the growing importance of Vietnam in strengthening cultural, academic, and trade ties between the two nations.

Organized at the September 23 Park with the support of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the three-day event seeks to advance India’s Act East Policy.

The festival was inaugurated in the presence of senior officials from both nations, including Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India, Shyamkanu Mahanta, the festival’s chief organizer, Bui Xuan Cuong, vice chairman of HCMC People’s Committee, and Pham Tran Thanh Thao, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mahanta said the festival would help “forge a stronger bond between India and Vietnam via commerce, artistic endeavors, and cultural activities.”

The entire program is deeply rooted in the Act East Policy, he added.

“Last year, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, emphasized the North East India Festival in Bangkok and its role in enhancing India’s ties with Southeast Asia. This year, in Vietnam, our focus is on cultural exchange, but we are also broadening our scope to include educational and trade programs.

“What started as a platform centered around the North East has evolved into one of India’s premier events, fostering not just cultural ties but also catalyzing development in trade, education, tourism, and more. The fact that Vietnam is hosting an event of this scale for the first time is notable. We’re eager to see the positive impacts stemming from our efforts.”

Under the Invest India initiative, a trade meeting will be held to position the North East India as an enticing destination for investment and bilateral trade, while a people-to-people exchange session aims to foster dialogue between historians, scholars, and academicians from North East India and Vietnam.

The Act East Policy, initiated in 2014, aims to foster economic collaboration, nurture cultural connections, and build strategic alliances with nations in the Indo-Pacific, according to MEA.

Just two weeks ago, India ceremoniously unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Vietnam, underscoring shared history and values.

These consecutive events suggest that India is actively bolstering its diplomatic and economic footprint in the Indo-Pacific, with Vietnam emerging as a pivotal partner in this region.

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