16 countries to participate in international conference in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Kalinga International Foundation (KIF) will organise an international conference in Bhubaneswar where delegates from 16 countries and eastern and northeastern states will deliberate on commerce, connectivity and culture.

The conference will be held at Bhubaneswar on March 16-18, said Lalit Mansingh, Chairman, Kalinga International Foundation.

The theme of the conference is Purbasa: East meets East: Synergising the North-East and Eastern India with the Indo-Pacific.

This conference will bring together, for the first time, the eastern and northeastern region of India with their proximate neighbours- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and beyond, with the ASEAN nations and the wider Indo-Pacific region.

Sailors, merchants, scholars and artisans from this region travelled overseas and established linkages with the people of South East Asia dating back to the 4th Century BCE, said Mansingh.

The pioneers were the Sadhavas, the sailor-merchants of Kalinga, a powerful empire straddling the eastern seacoast of India. It would be worthwhile to study the role played by economic ties in the development of cultural relations.The Sadhavas acted as messengers of peace and couriers of culture between eastern India and the Indo-Pacific region. Kalinga has, therefore, been used as a metaphor for the historic ties that bind this wider region together.

The Kalinga Saraswati Samman will be conferred on to noted scholars on this occasion: Prof V Suryanarayan for his book on Indonesia; and to Sudip Sen for his book on Bali.

The Inauguration will conclude with Purbasa Cultural Programme presented by Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty, Director, Orissa Dance Academy.

A major highlight of the conference would be the session on Bilaterals with speeches by Ambassadors respectively of Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines and Myanmar; the Dy High Commissioner of Australia and Minister Economic of the Embassy of Japan.

On the Indian side, Amb Pinak Chakravarty Prof V Suryanarayan and Amb Deepa G Wadhwa would respond to their remarks.

From Odisha’s powerful Kalinga Empire to the Act East policy today, India’s vision has continually expanded. It now extends beyond ASEAN to the larger Indo-Pacific region, which consolidates the Indian Ocean Region and the Western Pacific Region into a singular regional construct.

It provides a new significance to Odisha’s annual festival of Balijatra or Voyage to Bali. The KIF offers the Indian and foreign delegates a unique opportunity to see at first hand some of Odisha’s cultural heritage by organising a Cultural Heritage tour after the conference.