A Festival of Indian Culture opened in Moscow on Tuesday with a concert of the renowned Bollywood Dance Group “Sugar n’ Spice”.

The organisers, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Russian Ministry of Culture, have put together an impressive programme that features India’s top artistes. They include sitar maestro Ustad Shujaat Khan, eminent violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam and his equally famous wife — singer Kavita Krishnamurthi, renowned santoor player Abhay Sopori, the Yakshagana Puppet Theatre of Bhaskar Kogga Kamath from Karnataka and Kathak dance duo Vidha and Abhimanyu Lal.

Over the next two months, more than 50 Indian artists will perform in 10 cities — from St. Petersburg in the west to Tomsk in the east and Kislovodsk in the south.

Inaugurating the festival, Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra stressed the importance of cultural exchanges between India and Russia.

“Our close friendship is deeply rooted in the affinity between our countries and peoples and the extraordinary resonance that our cultural traditions find in each other,” he said.

Under a joint decision taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin, India and Russia since last year hold Festivals of Culture in each other’s country on an annual basis.

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