Chandigarh, Feb 2 (PTI) Art and crafts cut across borders and build bridges of understanding, President Droupadi Murmu said on Friday after inaugurating the 37th Surajkund International Crafts Mela in Haryana's Faridabad district.
Addressing the gathering, the president said, "Tanzania's participation as a partner nation in this mela highlights India's engagement with the African union".
Tanzania is the partner country while Gujarat is the theme state for this year's mela, which the president inaugurated in presence of Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, and Union Minister Krishan Pal, who is also the MP from Faridabad, among others.
The fair, in which overall 50 countries and various states are taking part, will continue till February 18.
"I also extend a very warm welcome to participants from several other countries who are here to enrich this Mela. The presence of participants from Tanzania and other countries makes this mela truly international," she said.
President Murmu said, "Art and crafts cut across borders and build bridges of understanding. Art and craft persons are creative ambassadors of humanity".
Speaking about the fair, which is organised each year in Surajkund near the national capital, the President said that she has been told that the Centre and state government jointly organises this international mela. She praised all ministries and departments connected with this mela.
This annual fair has been successfully organised over the years, she noted.
Regarding Tanzania being a partner nation this year, she said, "I am happy to learn that Tanzania is partner country in this year's mela and extend my greetings to our friends from the nation who are taking part in the fair".
"I had the pleasure to hosting the President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan in October last year," she said.
"During our discussions, we agreed on the importance of expanding our cultural exchanges in future," she added.
" I am sure that the visitors to the Mela will get a chance to experience the vibrant and colourful Tanzanian art and craft including wood carving, pottery and weaving," Murmu said.
"This is also a wonderful platform to showcase Tanzanian dance, music and cuisine in which we can also glimpse some Indian influence, thanks to the centuries of people-to-people contact between India and East african coast," she said.
About theme state Gujarat, the president said it is showcasing its unique culture and rich heritage through various art forms and handicrafts from the region. PTI SUN VSD RPA