An Australian Delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Ms. Julie Bishop met the Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in New Delhi today. Senior officials of the Ministry of Culture were also present in the meeting. Both sides discussed measures and steps to be taken to promote furtherthe relations especially cultural relations between the two countries.
Highlighting the importance of relations between India and Australia, Ms. Bishop said that an agreement on promotion of Arts and Culture were signed between the two countries during the visit of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to Australia last year. It was also decided to hold a Festival of India in Australia in 2015, which is a significant step and needs to be taken forward, she added.
Appreciating the interest taken by Australia in the Festival of India, Dr. Mahesh Sharma informed that discussions between the officials of two countries are at an advanced stage and the dates of the festival are expected to be finalized soon. It was also requested that Australia may provide venues for the Festival free of cost, which the Australian side agreed to take up favourably.
Ms. Bishop also appreciated the contemporary art of India and requested that it be given a prominent place in the Festival of India. She also said that Air India enjoys a very good reputation in Australia and requested for direct Air India flights to cities like Melbourne and Sidney.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma informed that soft launch of the Festival of India in Australia will take place next month in Canberra with the opening of an exhibition of National Museum at the National Gallery of Australia in May 2010. The National Museum of Ministry of Culture is lending 101 miniature paintings depictingRama –Katha or the stories of Rama for anexhibition. The exhibition is acclaimed to be one of the most rich exhibitions on the theme of Ramayana depicted through miniature paintings, belonging to the period 17th to 19th centuries.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma also promised that India will share its contemporary art with Australia and the strong cricket ties between the two countries also need to be highlighted. He also agreed to look into the request for direct Air India flights to cities of Australia favourably.
A sample copy of the miniature paintings on Rama-Katha was presented to Ms Bishop by Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
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