The great magnetic effect endures

Anatoly Kargapolov

Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and Russian Charge d’Affairs Anatoly Kargapolov releasing the coffee table book (Photo: Facebook)

Celebrations are the very essence of life and when a whole country celebrates, there is greater depth and meaning, with the weight of history and journeys.

One such occasion was the commemoration of the Russian National Day. A grand reception was organised by the Embassy of Russia, that witnessed more than 650 guests in attendance, and an august gathering comprising of members of the diplomatic community, government agencies, think tanks, leading colleges, universities and media houses, as well as Russian compatriots working and/or staying in India.

India's Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and participated in the launch of an illustrated coffee table book Russia-India: the Anthology of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, published by the Embassy, as a special gesture to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In fact, this is the third photo anthology edition, having been started by the late ambassador Alexander M Kadakin, twice envoy of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India, and this is seen as a tribute to him.

"It gives me immense pleasure to stress that the current state and prospects of our bilateral relations are suffused with unprecedented trust and mutual affinity.

The collapse of the Soviet Union did not affect our relations in any way. In 2000, our leaders signed a historic declaration on Strategic Partnership and established the mechanism of annual summits, which are meaningful and substantial, embracing a vast agenda," said Charge d'Affaires of Russia in India Anatoly Kargapolov.

He and Akbar also awarded the winner of the "Jubilee Logo Design Contest-2017", Ajoy Kumar Biswas, who was chosen by the Russian-Indian jury for the best emblem of the anniversary of Russian-Indian diplomatic relations from almost 50 logo designs, across India. In fact, all participants were invited to be a part of the celebrations. After the national anthems, the reception continued with the rhythms of a jazz and ragtime band, "Real Jam", flown in all the way from Moscow and the joint venture BrahMos Aerospace.

To express their love for Indian culture, the artists performed "Na goron ki na kalon ki" and "Jimmy, Jimmy" songs in Hindi, which were received with thunderous applause. If that were not all, one and all sang famous Russian songs like "Moscow Nights" and "Kalinka". When the dance party was over, the guests took pictures and selfies, capturing the spectacular outdoor illumination of the Embassy premises, which has, actually become the talk of the town as the best ever optic illumination of a diplomatic mission in New Delhi.

As a token of appreciation and remembrance of the fine evening, guests received their very own complimentary copy of the coffee table book at the end of the reception. Diplomatic relations between India and Russia can be traced back to as long as four months before India gained its independence, which in itself is a milestone.

The jointly traversed path, ever since has seen many important achievements ~ from steel plants in Bhilai and Bokaro to the first India satellite Aryabhata sent into orbit by a Soviet launch vehicle, from the space flight by Rakesh Sharma to the first MiG fighters assembled at Indian plants, not to forget BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, the world's best, which were jointly developed.

The list of projects involving mutual cooperation and genuine friendship, across a whole spectrum, is endless. As Russian artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, who made India his second home once said, "India's heart is reaching for the infinite Russia.

The great Indian magnet is attracting Russian hearts." It seems this quote still holds true in today's context.