President Pranab Mukherjee arrives in Belgium
Brussels: President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday arrived here in the first leg of his six-day state visit to Belgium and Turkey.
In a rare gesture, King of Belgians Philippe came at the airport here to receive Mukherjee who is the first President of India to visit the European country.
The President who will be in Belgium from October 2-5 will have discussions with King Philippe who had invited him for the state visit and other dignitaries.
He would inaugurate jointly with King Philippe the `Europalia-India 2013-14`-- a cultural extravaganza showcasing India. This is the first time India has been showcased at the mega-event which would run from October 4 to January 26, 2014.
Nearly 450 events at 100 venues across Belgium and in the neighbouring countries will present to Europe different aspects of Indian artistic diversity with focus on seven themes -- the body, indomania, India tomorrow, living traditions, water, Bollywood and beyond, and the diaspora.
The festival is a collaboration between the External Affairs Ministry, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and its partners and Europalia International.
A high-level delegation, including ministers, senior officials and representatives of educational and academic institutions, is accompanying the President.
UGC Chairman Ved Prakash, Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University Dinesh Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University VC Sudhir Kumar Sopory and Hyderabad University VC Ramakrishna Ramaswamy are part of the delegation visiting the two countries.
Minister for Shipping G K Vasan and a group of MPs including Priya Dutt, Deepender Singh Hooda, Zafar Ali Naqvi, Baishnab Charan Parida and Prabhakar Kore are also travelling with the President.
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