President Ho and Prime Minister Nehru laid the foundation for a very close and cordial relationship between the two countries," said Rae. "The festivities during the Year of Friendship will provide further impetus to the strong bonds between Vietnam and India."
A performance by 21 members of the Odissi Dance Troupe, led by Sharmila Biswas launched the series of events on April 5 in Hanoi. The dancers will now move on to perform in Haiphong, Danang and HCM City. They will also appear at the Hue Festival from April 7-15.
Next up will be a digital art exhibition entitled Kalpana (Imagination), on display in April and May.
The exhibition Masterpieces of Figurative Indian Contemporary Paintings, will open with a ceremony on April 24 at the Vietnamese Culture and Arts Exhibition Centre at 2 Hoa Lu Street in Hanoi.
During the exhibition, Indian and Vietnamese painters will lead a joint workshop in Hanoi, and the Indian painters will lecture at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts.
At mid-year, in a seminar on Champa linkages to Indian culture, six Indian and Vietnamese scholars will highlight the cultural ties between the two nations.
India will also grant US$3 million to assist Vietnam in the restoration and conservation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at My Son, a vestige of the Champa civilisation in the central province of Quang Nam.
Other events planned for this year include Indian food festivals in Hanoi, HCM City and other major Vietnamese cities, which will also include peformances of Indian folk songs and dances, he said.
In August, the two countries will present a multimedia exhibition on India-Vietnam relations at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi, focusing on the friendship and interaction between the great national leaders Pandit Jawahrlal Nehru and Ho Chi Minh, Rae said.
An Indian Film Week will take place in several Vietnamese cities in September, giving Vietnamese audiences a chance to experience popular Bollywood films.
The two sides also planned to open direct air routes between the two countries and open an Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi.
To mark the Year of Friendship, the Indian Government has also decided to double scholarships for Vietnamese students this year as well as fund several other education and training projects in Vietnam.