Bhubaneswar, Oct. 21 (ANI): The four-month-long grand Australian cultural festival, 'OZ Fest', kicked off here on Sunday.
The festival has been organised to strengthen bilateral ties.
The festival has been organised by the Australian Government in association with the Department of Tourism and Culture of the Odisha Government and the Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy.
Australian diplomat Peter Joseph Noozhumurry Varghese said the objective of the festival was to strengthen the ties between India and Australia through the medium of cultural exchange.
"This is the beginning of a 4 month cultural festival in India, where going to stage 100 events across 18 cities. Our objective is to strengthen the ties between our two communities. We do a lot at the government level and business level but we want to reach further than that to find a connection between the Indian community and the Australian community and we think culture, song and dance, theatre, music, film, photography, these are all the elements of 'OZ fest'. We think, this is a good way to bring out two communities together because in the long term, if want to have a strong relationship, we need to make sure that we have a good understanding of each other," said Varghese.
The festival would mark the beginning of a fresh period in bilateral relation between India and Australia and would cover 18 cities, showcasing festivals, film premi�re, photography exhibitions and the aboriginal music of Australia, connected with the land, its etiquette.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patniak said the festival would certainly help in developing concrete bilateral relations between both countries.
"I am extremely happy to be a part of the 'OZ fest' organised by the Australian Government in association with the department of Tourism and Culture of the state government and also the Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy. This festival marks the beginning of a new chapter in bilateral relation like in India and Australia starting from this October. It will cover 18 cities in India, showcasing festivals, film premi�re, photography exhibitions and the aboriginal music of Australia, connected with the land, its etiquette," said Patnaik
The Oz Fest would continue till March 2013 and during this period the group will travel and perform at different places throughout the country showcasing Australian's vibrant culture through various performances and comedy festivals, film premiers, photography exhibitions among others.
India and Australia have several commonalities, which serve as a foundation for closer cooperation and multifaceted interaction. Both are strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies.
India and Australia have commercial ties dating back to the 18th century, when India played a central role in nourishing the young colony and trade with Australia came to be an important element in the operations of the East India Company in Bengal.
Relations between the two countries have grown in strength and importance since the adoption of economic reforms in India in 1991 and have made rapid strides in trade, investment, energy, mining, science and technology, information technology, education and defence. During the visit of PM Rudd to India in 2009 both the countries elevated their ties to the level of a Strategic Partnership. (ANI)