On August 15 H. E. Ms. Pooja Kapur, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Republic of Bulgaria,

gave a reception at her residence on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of India's independence and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bulgaria.

On August 15, 1947, the country gained its independence from Britain and embarked on an independent development path. As H. E. Ms. Pooja Kapur shared in her welcome speech: "India is a relatively young country but an old civilization dating back between 5000 - 7000 years. Seven decades of nation-building have led to the re-emergence of India on the international stage in its modern "avatar", as the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy. We are today the third largest economy in PPP terms, the fastest growing big economy and a top investment destination. Yet as we consolidate our status as a scientific behemoth, space power, IT giant and the third largest R&D and start-up hub, we continue to grapple with the festering challenges of poverty, of skilling a very young population - we will be the  world’s youngest country by 2020 with an average age of only 29 years."

Her Excellency reported that Indians represent 18% of the world's population, but consume only about 6% of basic energy resources. She underlined her country's role in safeguarding international peace and stability and the future of the planet.

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, H. E. Ms. Pooja Kapur shared that they are characterized by a special warmth and depth and have been very much revived over the past year. "Our socio-cultural links date back to the 8th century AD and first contacts can be traced to as early as the 4th century BC. Georgi Rakovski, Boris Georgiev and Rabindranath Tagore contributed to a thriving people-to-people connect in the 19th and 20th centuries. In modern times, diplomatic ties were established in 1954 and transitioned smoothly with Bulgaria’s political transition. High-level political exchanges have been frequent. We had the State Visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to Bulgaria in September 2018, our External Affairs Minister visited in February 2019 and we are expecting high-level visits from Bulgaria in the near future."

Then Her Excellency emphasized that our bilateral trade and investment had grown strongly; that memoranda of cooperation have been signed in various fields - investment and tourism, civilian nuclear cooperation and education; that Bulgaria has become a preferred destination for Bollywood films. "Bulgarians share an almost inexplicable bond with India. President Radev rightly calls India and Bulgaria spiritual partners. Indian films, television serials, literature, music, dance, Yoga and Ayurveda are very popular in Bulgaria. The Indology Department at Sofia University is thriving. International Yoga Day was celebrated across a whopping 45 cities in Bulgaria in June this year, organised entirely through local initiatives. The list goes one, and following the speeches we shall have two eminent Bulgarian artists presenting a taster of Indian music and dance for you. The India-Bulgaria relationship is special and holds great potential and promise. I am sure that with your support, it will scale new heights." 

On the Bulgarian side, Dr. Nigyar Dzhafer, Chairman of the Bulgaria-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, congratulated the guests and the Indians present on Independence Day. Congratulatory messages from Mrs. Iliana Iotova, Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria, and Ms. Mariyana Nikolova, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Demographic Policy, were read. And then, in the beautiful garden of the residence, ambassadors, diplomats, politicians, mayors, businessmen, journalists and cultural figures, the Indian diaspora in our country had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful performance of violin by the famous professor Angel Stankov, as well as beautiful Indian dances presented by Bulgarian artists. Everyone also tasted the exotic dishes of traditional Indian cuisine and the unique refreshments specially prepared for the reception.

Photos are courtesy of the Embassy of the Republic of India in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Ms. Pooja Kapur, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Republic of Bulgaria and the members of the Indian-Bulgarian Business Chamber

Below: H. E. Ms. Pooja Kapur and Dr. Nigyar Dzhafer, Chairman of the Bulgaria-India Parliamentary Friendship Group