Colombian mission plans events to promote cultural ties

October 16th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) To mark one year of its mission in India, the Colombian embassy in the Indian capital has planned a series of events later this month to promote cultural and literary ties between the two countries.”We want Colombia to exist in the hypothalamus of the people of India,” said Juan Alferedo Pinto Saavedara, briefing reporters on the events planned under the first Colombian Cultural Week, and on the growing bilateral economic ties.

The first event, he said, was to hold a unique gathering of litterateurs here Oct 22-23 to discuss the works of celebrated Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

A photo exhibition on the author - “Gabo the Writer” - has also been scheduled later, even as some of the events will also be organised in Kolkata and Mumbai, the envoy said.

The embassy also intends to bring four contemporary writers from the Latin American country for discussions and talks - Santiago Gamboa, Enrique Serrano, Mario Mendonza and Hector Abad Faciolince.

Later, it intends to hold at the Siri Fort Auditorium here a Colombian Film Festival Oct 22-25, where three acclaimed films will be screened, including “Santanas” based on the book by Mendonza.

This apart, the envoy said, they will also hold a “Colombian Diwali” Oct 26 where guests will get a chance to celebrate the Indian festival of lights, swing and dance to the tunes of noted Latin American musical group Zona Prieta.

“I have really seen ties between India and Colombia expand impressively during the one year I have been in India. We have strong economic ties and that will continue to grow. I also want our cultural ties to expand,” he said.

He said bilateral trade between the two countries, for example, had grown some 35 percent last year to $600 million from $450 million, even as 26 Indian companies led by Reliance Industries and the Tatas had a presence in Colombia.

“We have almost negotiated 97 percent of a proposed Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, as also a Double Tax Avoidance Treaty. You will see more India-Colombia business collaborations in coming months.”

Reliance Industries and the India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) are exploring hydrocarbons in the country, with mining and energy sectors throwing up several opportunities for India Inc, the ambassador said.

“Some 150 blocks of oil and gas exploration, and as many products, in Colombia are waiting for Indian investors,” he said, adding opportunities especially existed in coal, iron, nickel and emeralds.

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