Manjeev Singh Puri

Indian community welcomes new ambassador

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(CS) Luxembourg's Indian community on Wednesday welcomed new ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, who handed his credentials to Grand Duke Henri that same day.

The reception at the Mamer Schlass was not just an opportunity for members of the Indian community in Luxembourg to meet the ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU, but it was also a chance for His Excellency to find out more about the ways in which India is promoted in the Grand Duchy.

Selvaraj Alagumalai presented the Indian Association Luxembourg, which he chairs and which keeps the Indian spirit alive in Luxembourg, hosting events such as the annual Diwali or Holi celebrations.

Founded in 1991, the association aims not only to give Indian nationals a chance to live their culture while abroad, but also to share it with the locals.

Local initiatives honoured

The ambassador was introduced to members of the Indian community who host dance classes here in Luxembourg and he learned about the Indian stand at the International Bazar, which has been raising funds for charity for over 30 years.

Mr Puri was also delighted to hear about Indian radio programmes in Luxembourg on RadioARA, saying that the remembers a time when he would listen to RTL.

With business and diplomatic ties closely linked, the Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg was also represented by its president Sudhir Kumar Kohli, who already met the ambassador when IBCL celebrated its fifth anniversary in April this year.

But also members of the Luxembourg public, who have been working for charitable causes in India, were honoured, such as representatives of “Amicale international d'aide a l'enfance”, “Aide a l'Enfance de l'Inde” and “Indesch Patenschaften”.

“Enormous potential”

Honorary consul general of India to Luxembourg Ambi Venkataraman said that he wanted to give the ambassador a “familiar face to return to” when he next comes to Luxembourg.

The ambassador heard of education exchange programmes and efforts to bring Luxembourg and India closer together, also in the area of research.

It was a warm welcome for Mr Puri that also came with the request that the ambassador should not be a stranger to Luxembourg, as Brussels-based diplomats sometimes make their presence in the Grand Duchy rare.

However, His Excellency promised the embassy's continued support and showed himself proud to continue a tradition of diplomatic relations between the countries that date back to the late 1940s after India gained its independence.

Speaking to an audience that also included representatives of the Luxembourg Foreign Affairs, Education and Economy ministries, the ambassador said that the relationship between India and Luxembourg was about more than ArcelorMittal, although he acknowledged that it is hard to discuss the two countries with the topic coming up.

Mr Puri said that bilateral relations are also about the people that drive them. With “enormous potential and ample opportunities” for both countries to explore, Mr Puri said that he hopes new heights can be reached in the already close cooperation between India and Luxembourg.