Ambassador Harrison visits Riga for a day for important meeetings

Ambassador Harrison visits Riga for a day for important meeetings

Ambassador Harrison visits Riga for a day for important meeetings

Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison visited Riga on Friday, March 28, 2015 for a number of important meetings. The visit started with a breakfast meeting to discuss the possible ways in which modern medicine system could be combined with traditional medicine systems of India, particularly Ayurveda and Yoga so as to benefit the patients. Prof. Dr. Valdis Pirags, Faculty of Medicine, University of Latvia and Dr. Sigma Ankrava, Acting Director of Centre for Indian Studies and Culture, University of Latvia informed the Ambassador about the success of the new module launched recently for this purpose. Dr. Somit, an Indian Ayurvedic Expert from Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam & Research Institute, Coimbatore with which the University of Latvia had signed an MoU last year, said that there was a growing interest in Ayurveda in Latvia, as reflected in the fact that the course he had just begun to teach had already attracted 43 students. He told her that he would be taking about 30 of them to India for two months on study visit to gain practical knowledge. He also informed Ambassador that the Latvian University is planning to open a "Centre of Research for Complementary Medicine" which will, inter alia, do research on the effects on Diabetes of combining traditional medicine and modern medicine.

Dr. Pirags informed the Ambassador about the preparations for the International Seminar on Ayurveda in Riga on 28-30 May, which was being organized at the suggestion of the Ambassador. He said that the seminar would be for three days and the first day would focus on talks by policy makers of Latvia and India on Ayurveda and related subjects and the next two days would focus on technical aspects. Ambassador informed him that she had requested the Department of AYUSH, New Delhi to participate in this conference.

The meeting was joined by Mr. Astitva Ginters, Yoga Expert and Ms. Premal Madina, Oddisi Dancer, teacher and Choreographer in Riga. The Ambassador informed the participants in the meeting that at India's initiative, the United Nations had declared June 21 to be the "International Yoga Day" . She sought their assistance in celebrating this day appropriately in Riga, and briefed them on the vision of the Indian government. She said that she would be sending a representative from the Embassy to Riga for this celebration, since she herself has to be in Gothenburg for doing a similar event on that day.

Later in the day Ambassador visited the University of Latvia and interacted with the students studying Ayurveda and spoke to them about the importance of Ayurveda in the modern day

The second programme was a seminar on "Promotion of Indian Agriculture Products" which was organized for the second time by the Embassy in collaboration with the Indo-Latvian Chamber of Commerce (ILCC) and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India. The President of ILCC, Mr. Kartik Desai, welcomed the guests and read out the Latvian Minister of Agriculture's speech which was followed by a short film made by the Public Diplomacy division entitled "India - A Profile" Thereafter Ambassador Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison gave a presentation on India's agricultural sector which includes fresh/processed fruits and vegetables, floriculture, organic products, wheat, rice, cereals, pulses and spices. She spoke about India's enormous potential in these areas. She informed the audience that India is exploring the benefits and feasibility of planning to build a cold storage in Riga Port to make Riga as an hub for Indian products.

Then the Ambassador invited H.E. Mr. Atis Lejins, Member of Parliament and Co-Chairman of India-Latvia Friendship Group to address the audience. Mr. Lejins talked about the warmth of the relations between Latvia and India and thanked the Ambassador for organizing such an event which would promote further bilateral cooperation between the two countries and said that he is looking forward to getting Indian Basmati Rice in Latvian markets. He further said that he would be visiting India shortly at the invitation of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and said that he and his wife were looking forward to this visit. The next speaker was Mr. Peter Odintsov, a Member of the Council of Norvik Bank. In his address, Mr. Odintsov mentioned that this was an historic opportunity for Latvia with the Prime Ministership of Modi Government so keen to further enhance international trade and business relations. He stressed that Latvia is the best transit/distribution center to CIS/Northern European countries. He told the audience that the Norvik Bank is trying to build Indian export and import communities and he had himself visited India and witnessed the quality of production. He said that India produces very quality products but lacks packing capability while Latvia has very good technology in packing. If Indian products are exported to Latvia, Latvia would help in packing in smaller quantities as required to further export to CIS and other European countries. He mentioned that the Norvik Bank and eromar Cargo Services are doing feasibility study with APEDA to build cold storages in Riga. They planned to have 6000 sq.mtr for this purpose, equally divided for cold storage, temperature control and for warehouses. During the visit of a delegation from the APEDA to Riga, they would finalize the plans for construction of an APEDA certified Riga Export Hub facility. The audiences were shown many Indian agricultural products and given a taste of rich aromatic Indian tea and coffee and Indian food.

Next the Ambassador had a meeting with Ms. Judite Dobele, Head, Department of Asia and Oceania in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They inter alia discussed about on Education Exchange Programme between Latvia and India which could perhaps be signed during the Latvian Education Minister's visit to India. They also discussed some bilateral matters as well as India's participation in the forthcoming ASEM meetings.