Remarks by Ambassador of India H.E. Sujan R. Chinoy on the Inauguration of the Sakura Festival at the Indian Embassy, Tokyo (25 March, 2016)
Amb. Hiroshi Hirabayashi, President of Japan India Association
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to all of you to the Sakura Festival that is celebrated every year in the premises of the Indian Embassy. We are located in one of the most scenic areas of Tokyo and indeed this is one of the best places to view the resplendent yet ephemeral Sakura flowers. Yesterday, Indians all over the world celebrated Holi, the festival of colors which, like the Sakura flowers, herald the arrival of spring and the end of winter.
2. The Sakura festival offers you a glimpse of India in all its splendour. Here you can savour its culinary delights, handicrafts, henna designs as well as dance and musical performances. I would like to acknowledge the dedication with which our Japanese friends have been practicing various Indian classical, folk and contemporary art forms. It is people like such as these, who have embraced our culture and made it their own, who form a valuable bridge between our two countries.
3. India and Japan share traditionally warm and friendly relations which are cemented by close historical bonds forged on the anvil of Buddhism. We have a convergence in our values of openness, democracy and respect for all. Despite the great geographical distance between us, our ties have witnessed many exchanges in past centuries, the most important of which is the arrival from India in 752 AD of the Buddhist monk Bodhisena for the eye-opening ceremony of the great Buddha statue of Todaiji in Nara. Bodhidharma, who founded Zen Buddhism in China, was an Indian monk, and is known in Japan as Daruma. Our cultural similarities extend to Shintoism, which shares three of its seven lucky Gods with India.
4. It is on this unshakeable foundation that we have built over the years a Special Strategic and Global Partnership which encompasses not just cultural bonds, but also high-level political exchanges and a growing convergence on issues of economic and strategic significance.
5. Japanese visitors to India are now entitled to visas on arrival. I encourage you to make use of this facility to go and experience for yourself the wonderful culture and traditions of India that truly make it an Incredible destination. I hope you all will have a wonderful day.
6. Thank you.