FM Dendias: "Greece and India represent two of the greatest civilisations in history"

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias published a video in the context of the five-day international "Greek World and India: History, Culture and Trade from the Hellenistic period to Modern Times" conference which began on Monday at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

In his video, Dendias stressed the historical bonds that tie Greece and India, saying that they both "represent two of the greatest civilisations in history."

The Foreign Minister's full statement:

"Today's conference is quite a unique event. The millennial history of Indo-Hellenic contacts provides a solid basis for strengthening our relations in the cultural field, which is all the more important since Greece and India represent two of the greatest civilisations in history.

"Our countries enjoy a long history of contact, starting in the era of Alexander the Great. Greek-Indian contacts comprised the fields of art, letters and science.

"Commercial bonds, mainly through maritime routes, led to the formation of vibrant Greek communities in Bengal, and especially in Calcutta, where the famous Greek Indologist Dimitrios Galanos lived.

"We are pleased that the experts in this conference are exploring these aspects of our history; from the Hellenistic period to modern times, with the aim to build on a relationship of the future; a relationship that aspires to become a strategic one, as Greece and India view things in a very similar way.

"A major highlight of this conference is the digital exhibition of a unique Byzantine manuscript; with a large number of miniatures which depict the life of Alexander the Great. The manuscript is a rare gem from the collection of the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Studies.

"It's 'digital journey' to India bears testimony to the efforts undertaken by our countries to honour and further explore their cultural bonds. We also feel very honoured that there is a Chair of Greek Studies at the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University).

"The latter will be reinforced with a Visiting Professor from Greece in the start of this academic semester. As the prominent Indian poet Tagore had stressed during his visit to Athens in 1926:

'We, the younger generations of both Greeks and Indians must always strive to live up to the level of our glorious past. But it is not enough to reflect only on our past. We must walk in modern reality. We must contribute to the promotion of the culture of our countries and make this culture a lasting value.'

"Hoping that this conference may lay a small stone on exactly that path, I am wishing you every success."

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