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‘Cultural festivals reflect unity and spirit of SAARC nations’

New Delhi, Sep 26 Cultural festivals reflect the distinct spirit of South Asia and strengthen people-to-people contact, said G.L.W Samarasinghe, director of SAARC Cultural Centre Friday.

At the opening ceremony of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Cultural Festival on “Traditional Dance of South Asia” at Sangeet Natak Akademi, Samarasinghe appreciated the fact that the eight-member group has renewed their cultural ties after eight years.

“This festival reflects the unity and spirit of SAARC nations and will promote people-to-people contact. It is a good opportunity to have a cultural scenario like this,” he said.

The Minister of Culture, Shripad Yesso Naik, gave a miss to the event. Instead, V. Srinivas, Joint Secretary (culture), along with cultural representatives from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan, attended the event that began with a march past by 105 cultural delegates from the member countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

“In the coming days, there will be more display of Indian culture through these performances,” said Srinivas.

The three-day festival will conclude Sep 28.

The welcoming performance for the evening began with Kathakali.

Afghan students in India performed Afghanistan’s traditional song and dance “Mili Atan” which was followed by Bangladesh’s traditional bottle dance, India’s Chhau dance from Jharkhand and Sri Lanka’s traditional Kandyan dance, among other performances.