India has hosted a conference designed to enhance its tourism ties with countries in the Indian Ocean region.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, India’s Minister of Tourism, Culture & Civil Aviation, chaired the plenary session of the International Conference on India & the Indian Ocean, which ran under the theme ‘Renewing the civilizational linkages’.
Held in Bhubaneswar, capital of the Indian coastal state of Odisha, the event heard Dr Sharma stressing the importance of “developing, deepening and strengthening relations with the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries which have civilizational links with India”.
The conference follows the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
“Prime Minister [Modi] has given more importance to promote ties with our IOR neighbours, which will not only strengthen the security of our vast sea lanes in Indian Ocean but also secure our age-old cultural relations with them,” Dr Mahesh Sharma said.
The minister added that India plans to develop a “coastal circuit” for tourism.
“India has a long coastline of 7,500km which possesses rich culture and heritage. If this can be harnessed along with beach tourism, culture and pilgrim tourism, all states particularly coastal states like Odisha will be benefited,” he added.
The three-day conference was attended by the representatives of 20 countries located in the Indian Ocean region.