Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced plans for a new Welsh and India economic initiative next year at the official Indian government Diwali event in Cardiff on 8 November.
Speaking at the event at Glamorgan Cricket club in Pontcanna, the 69-year-old Labour politician revealed the details for the Year of Wales in India 2024 which aims to create even greater economic and cultural ties between the two nations. The launch is due to take place in India around St David’s Day (1st March 2024) and other events are planned in a number of cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
The First Minister was joined by Health Minister Baroness Eluned Morgan, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething, Deputy High Commissioner Shri Sujit Ghosh, who all spoke at the event which was organised by Indian Honorary Consul Raj Aggarwal.
The packed Diwali celebration was attended by hundreds of guests and included some exuberant festivities, with traditional Indian music, dancing and food.
Speaking at the event Indian Honorary Consul Raj Aggarwal voiced his excitement for the forthcoming initiatives.
Raj Aggarwal said, "We are looking forward to organising several events in India next year to build even stronger links between our two nations. The main themes for these meetings will include trade and investment, education, culture and health. This is a great opportunity to consolidate our relationships to ensure greater cooperation in the coming years."
And he added, "I'm also glad to see Indian students here tonight who attend all the eight universities in Wales. There are currently over 2,200 Indian students studying for degrees at Welsh Universities and increase of over 200% since 2016, which brings in around £200m of revenue to our educational establishments. I myself was a graduate of Cardiff University and I owe so much to the education I received in this country."
The event was also attended by several representatives from major Indian companies in Wales, as well as some Indian start-ups.