The inaugural edition of the Sylhet-Silchar Festival was organized recently in Assam’s Barak Valley to celebrate the cultural ties between India and Bangladesh.
What is Sylhet-Silchar Festival?
- The Sylhet-Silchar Festival aims to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh.
- The two-day festival was jointly organized by the India Foundation (which comes under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Culture) and Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies.
- This event commemorated the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation from Pakistan.
- It showcased the cuisine, arts, crafts, culture, and local products of the two neighboring regions of Sylhet (Bangladesh) and Silchar (India).
- It provided the platform for exploring multi-disciplinary trade opportunities in sectors like healthcare, tourism, education and digital infrastructure.
- It was organized with the help from the Indian Government’s Culture Ministry, Assam government, Bangladesh India Friendship Society and India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
What are the areas of focus of the event?
Sylhet and Silchar have been sharing close cultural ties for many years, like common language, traditions and cuisine. This festival sought to further strengthen the people-to-people ties between the two regions. Eminent people from India and Bangladesh discussed issues of mutual interest during the event.
The event included a series of panel discussions by experts and policymakers on issues pertaining to mutual growth and opportunities. Both countries have reiterated their desire to restore bus and flight services between India and Bangladesh, including the introduction of direct flights between Sylhet and Guwahati. Authorities also discussed the importance of preserving and protecting ecosystems in the neighboring regions. They called for a concerted approach to protect the Meghna river basin that is shared by the two countries. The basin has 29 transboundary rivers originating from India and flowing southwards through Bangladesh before draining into the Bay of Bengal. The Garo, Khasi and Jaintia communities live around this river basin.
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