New Delhi: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh via video link today.
The Prime Minister welcomed the dignitaries to Varanasi, also known as Kashi, and expressed delight that the G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting is taking place here as the city is his parliamentary constituency. Referring to Kashi as one of the oldest living cities, the Prime Minister mentioned the nearing town of Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. “Kashi is known to be a treasure chest of knowledge, duty and truth and it is indeed the cultural and spiritual capital of India”, the Prime Minister remarked and suggested the guests witness the the Ganga Aarti program, pay a visit to Sarnath and try out the delicacies of Kashi.
Highlighting the inherent potential of culture to unite and enable us to understand diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the Prime Minister said that the work of the G20 Culture Ministers Group holds immense significance for entire humanity. “We in India are very proud of our eternal and diverse culture. We also attach great value to our intangible cultural heritage”, Shri Modi said as he underlined that India has been working hard to preserve and revitalize its heritage sites. He mentioned mapping the country’s cultural assets and artists at the national level as well as village level. He also mentioned building several centers to celebrate India’s culture and gave the example of the tribal museums located in different parts of the country which showcase the vibrant culture of India’s tribal communities. Referring to the Prime Ministers’ Museum in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said that it is a one-of-a-kind effort to showcase India’s democratic heritage. He also mentioned developing the ‘Yuge Yugeen Bharat’ National Museum, which upon completion will stand as the world’s largest museum showcasing India’s history and culture spanning over 5,000 years.
In his opening remarks at the ministerial meeting Shri G.K Reddy welcomed the Ministers of G20 countries, invitee countries and representatives of international organisations to one of the world’s oldest continuously living cities, Varanasi which stands as a testament to India’s rich cultural heritage.
He said that it is a matter of pride that the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi represents the Varanasi constituency in the Parliament.
He further remarked that as an eternal city by the Ganges, Varanasi captures the confluence of culture, arts, and traditions, making it a befitting backdrop for this G20 Ministerial meeting of Culture.
Shri G.K Reddy also said that cultural heritage is both a pillar of the past and a pathway to the future.
The Minister also said that the journey of discussions under the Culture working group of G20 has been inclusive and collaborative. He said under it we’ve progressed from identifying and deliberating the four priorities , to advance towards the action-oriented outcomes that would be a significant step in placing culture at the heart of global policymaking.
He also said that the invaluable contribution,insights , comments and feedback from the G20 Member nations have greatly enriched our shared dialogue.
Shri G.K Reddy also remarked that under India’s Presidency and under the leadership of PM Modi, we have tried to capture not just the letter but, most importantly, the spirit of our collective vision.
In his concluding remarks at the meeting, , the Minister said that throughout eight months spanning across the four meetings of the Culture Working Group, we were able to forge a robust Outcome Document, which marks a considerable step forward in the legacy of the Rome and Bali Declarations.
He also stated that our endeavors at this meeting have brought us to a unique juncture where almost all points found a unanimous consensus. We should be proud of the ambition, forward looking vision and purpose of the text that we are about to adopt. It truly testifies that Culture Unites All.It is in this spirit that I would like to ask you to name this achievement the Kashi Culture Pathway, he urged.
Shri G.K Reddy added that we have affirmed that the return and restitution of cultural property is an imperative of social justice and we committed, as G20 members, to lead the path towards enabling the conditions for a sustained dialogue to that purpose.
He concluded his remarks by saying “let me symbolically adopt the Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary we have endorsed and the terms of Reference of the Culture Working Group.”
The G20 Culture Working Group (CWG), under the stewardship of India’s G20 Presidency, released a pioneering report titled ‘G20 Culture: Shaping the Global Narrative for Inclusive Growth’. This report encompasses insights and best practices derived from the Global Thematic Webinars on the priority areas articulated by the Indian Presidency.The insights encapsulated in the report underline the importance of persistent engagement in deepening our collective understanding.
A salient feature of these webinars was the robust and diverse participation of record 159 experts from various cultural backgrounds and disciplines. This extensive collaboration not only enriched the discussions but also fostered a holistic and multifaceted exploration of the role of culture in global policymaking. The collective wisdom of these experts, representing G20 Members, Guest Nations, International Organizations and other stakeholders underscores the universality of the topics discussed and amplifies the credibility and depth of the report.
A special postage stamp was also released, marking the journey of the hallmark campaign of ‘Culture Unites All’ under the CWG of India’s G20 Presidency.