On the threshold of Navruz, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Anumula Gitesh Sarma shared his opinions with UzA reporter Nodira Manzurova.
– Navruz is one of the oldest holidays that is widely celebrated in Uzbekistan. We are witnessing the fact that in your country creative and improvement work is being held with special activity. The fact that this festival is celebrated in your country with great solemnity is a testimony of profound respect of Uzbek people to their history. It is worthy of praises that each person residing in Uzbekistan, regardless of nationality, language and religion celebrates Navruz as native holiday.
Spring comes at the end of winter and the warm sunshine, sprouting of leaves and flowers, symbolize new energy and colour. As everywhere, in India also the onset of spring is celebrated in various ways. The festival of Holi for instance, enjoys wide popularity where people visit each other, put colour on them, exchange sweets and gifts and join in singing popular songs. On this day, it is said that even enemies become friends.
Navruz festival is celebrated on 21st March, the Spring Equinox, and it is the time for cleansing the house and spiritually rejuvenating oneself. This festival is particularly celebrated in the western part of India including Mumbai, where the world’s largest Zoroastrian community is concentrated. The Zoroastrian people are greatly respected for their business achievements and involvement with academic pursuits as well as philanthropy. The celebration of Navruz It is linked with Zoroastrian religion history and the legend of King Jamshed of Persia. Therefore, the festival is often called in India as Jamshedi Navruz. The Zoroastrian community celebrates by attending religious services early in the day and then gathering in community celebrations with a feast at which food is eaten communally. Rich and poor meet together and this is a time of goodwill when bonds of friendships are renewed.
– Mr. Ambassador, in recent years, cooperation between Uzbekistan and India in the spheres of education, information technologies and culture is increasingly expanding… What new joint projects in various sectors are expected in the future?
– Relations between India and Uzbekistan are deep rooted with strong historical and cultural linkages. There is enormous goodwill at the people to people level. Today, we are engaged in the building of a modern relationship. During President Karimov’s visit in May 2011, we elevated our friendship to that of strategic partnership. This means that we are comfortable working in practically all areas in a mutually beneficial manner.
Last year was particularly an important year with visits by Vice President and Foreign Minister and other levels also. At the commencement of the year we are already looking for other forms of interaction including opportunities for a complete review of our economic and commercial relations. We see great potential for mutual cooperation in such areas Information Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Cotton and silk related activities, and in other areas of modern manufacture. Indian movies are popular in Uzbekistan and this also reflects our cultural similarities.
Uzbekistan has made rapid progress since its independence and from an economy which was primarily focused on cotton, it has developed a significant manufacturing capability. Over the years Uzbekistan has consistently shown rapid and sustained economic growth. India and Uzbekistan are two countries very comfortable with each other and we are happy to share our experiences and expertise with Uzbekistan. Many young Uzbek students are joining Indian universities. We find that Uzbek nationals are traveling to India for advanced medical treatment. We are confident that in the years to come, there will be an increase in mutually beneficial cooperation.
– What do you think about the reforms implemented in Uzbekistan to promote peace and stability?
– Uzbekistan is a society which seeks to accommodate the immense diversities that are here on the basis of tolerance. Uzbekistan’s intention to move towards the establishment of a democratic society that ensures equal opportunities for people of all backgrounds is commendable. Democracy building is a continuous exercise and considerable progress in this regard has been made since achieving independence in 1991. The situation in Central Asia is complex and challenging. It is noteworthy, that wise policies by the leadership of Uzbekistan has contributed to peace and stability in the country and in the region. India will always be ready and by the side of Uzbekistan as it continues to make giant strides towards a bright future since achieving independence in 1991.
I sincerely congratulate people of Uzbekistan with the upcoming holiday of spring.