RIYADH: The Indian Embassy in Riyadh on Monday celebrated the country’s 70th Republic Day festival.
Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar joined senior government officials, diplomats, business people and members of the Indian community at a reception held at the Cultural Palace in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter.
Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmad Javed hosted the event to honor the date of Jan. 26, 1950, when India’s constitution came into effect.
Welcoming guests to the “joyous celebration,” Javed said: “Saudi Arabia is an important part of our extended neighborhood, and the Kingdom has always recognized India’s historical, socio-economic and cultural bonding with people in the Arabian Peninsula.”
He said the strength of the strategic partnership between the two countries enabled them to look beyond the conventional areas of cooperation in defense, counterterrorism, investment, science and technology. Javed pointed to one such new area of collaboration, where groups of Saudi Ministry of Defense cadets were receiving training in India.
India was ready to offer its “wholehearted support” towards helping the Kingdom achieve the goals set under its Vision 2030 reform plan, Javed added.
He also noted Saudi Aramco’s 50 percent investment partnership with India in the $44 billion Ratnagiri refinery project.
In the cultural arena, the ambassador said India had been “privileged” to be guest of honor at the Janadriyah festival in 2018.
Javed said Saudi Arabia had drastically reduced visa fees for business and private visitors to the Kingdom from India. Around 3 million Indians live in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom, and the envoy said they had been proud to play a part in contributing to the development of the country.
He thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the Saudi government for ensuring the safety, security and comfort of Indian pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah.
In a separate Republic Day celebration, India’s Consul General in Jeddah Noor Rahman Sheikh hosted a reception at the city’s Park Hyatt Hotel. Ambassador Sami Abdullah from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jeddah was the chief guest along with diplomats, Saudi dignitaries and members of the Indian community.
During the event students performed a traditional Bharatanatyam dance, and 10 members of the Manipuri Cultural Troupe also entertained guests.