The Nordic Ambassadors from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark paid a visit to West Bengal and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands from 8 May to 12 May 2013.
The Ambassadors were accompanied by their spouses who visited a project supported by the Danish LittleBigHelp – an Indian street children charity working in Kolkata. The spouses also visited Mother Teresa Center and inaugurated the art exhibition “Shrom O Shramik” depicting labour and labourers in post-independent India at Ganges Art Gallery.
In Kolkata the Ambassadors participated in a business seminar hosted by the Indian Chamber of Commerce where they were joined by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Partha Chatterjee, and the Minister of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture, Mr Subrata Saha. The Ambassadors’ presentations on the commercial opportunities generated a huge interest among the more than 150 members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce attending the seminar and the seminar concluded with a joint commitment to strengthen commercial ties between the Nordic countries and West Bengal.
The Ambassadors also had a very fruitful interaction with the Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal, Mr M.K. Narayanan, and met with the Chairman of the Left Front, Mr Biman Bose, who briefed the Ambassadors about the political situation in West Bengal.
The Nordic delegation also visited the NGO, Joygopalpur Gram Vikash Kendra, in the Sunderbans situated south of Kolkata. The NGO provides schooling for the local children and works to empower the women in the villages. The Sunderbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest and is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
On the occasion of the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday the Nordic delegation attended a cultural event with stunning performances expressing the poetry of Tagore who in 1913 was the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In the Andaman & Nicobar Islands the Ambassadors received a warm reception from the Hon’ble Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Mr Bhopinder Singh. The Ambassadors and the Hon’ble Governor confirmed a share philosophy of protecting the ecology and environment. The Ambassadors also met with Chief Secretary of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Mr Anand Prakash who was accompanied by senior officials representing a broad range of administrative departments, including commerce and industry. Finally the Nordic delegation greeted the Chief Captain of the Nicobar Islands, Mr Aberdeen Blair who briefed the Ambassadors about the islands’ indigenous tribes and the extensive reconstruction efforts launched after the devastating tsunami in 2004.