20 Mar : After hectic diplomatic parleys in the wake of the Kremlin’s discontent over New Delhi’s decision to defer formal inauguration till June, the ‘Year of India’ will be finally launched in Russia on 31st March.
"The inauguration of the ‘Year of India’ in the Russian Federation will take place in Moscow on 31 March 2009 at the New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre," the Indian Embassy said in Moscow.
The festival will be jointly inaugurated by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) president Karan Singh and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander D Zhukov.
The idea to hold years of the two countries was first mooted by then president Vladimir Putin in 2005 during his meeting with the visiting UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi with a purpose to fill the void in cultural and person-to-person ties between the two nations after collapse of Soviet Union.
Under the inter-governmental agreement, 2008 was declared ‘Year of Russia’ in India and the Kremlin had sent Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov in February 2008 for its gala inauguration in Purana Quila (Old Fort).
In December, the year long Russian fest was concluded with gala evening graced by President Dmitry Medvedev.