St David’s Day: A year of ‘Wales in India’ launched by Welsh Ministers in London and Mumbai

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan launched the year-long initiative at St David’s Day events in London’s Indian High Commission and in Mumbai yesterday.

Wales In India is a 12-month series of events celebrating the links between the 2 countries, especially across art and culture, education, health, business and human rights.

As well as strengthening the ties between Wales and India, it will help foster new trade and investment opportunities, champion cultural and sporting connections and cement academic and healthcare collaborations.

To kickstart the programme, Eluned Morgan is leading a Welsh delegation to India.

A key focus for the Ministerial visit is progressive policies on LGBTQ+ rights and combatting gender-based violence. She starts her week-long visit by meeting LGBTQ+ community members, including Pride organisers, diplomats, equal marriage activists and India’s first openly gay prince, His Highness Manvendra Singh Gohil.

Wales is already working closely with the government of the Maharashtra state in India, which is home to 114 million people. The state is looking at how it can shape its own version of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – Wales has been praised by the UN for being the only country in the world to legislate to ensure Ministers and public bodies must consider the long-term impacts of their decisions.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

We have so many remarkable connections with India and the many Indian communities living in Wales. Throughout this year of Wales in India, we will deepen our mutual appreciation and understanding, showcasing our deep-rooted partnerships and forging new connections.

The series of events and visits we have planned have been designed to not only grow trade and investment, but to strengthen our cultural, academic, artistic and sporting connections, and to advance our healthcare and wellbeing ambitions.

Wales in India really is a celebration of two nations of culture and innovation and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts this rich programme will have in 2024 and beyond.

H.E. Mr. Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to the UK, said:

India has a historic and multidimensional relationship with Wales, with abiding, mutually-beneficial and growing partnerships in business, education, culture, travel and sports. Indeed, Welsh communities of Indian origin have been important contributors to an energised Indian presence in Wales.

Wales in India 2024′ celebrates our modern relationship and aims to connect our peoples more effectively in the future.

Looking ahead, we welcome deeper and stronger partnerships for mutual benefit, fostering the spirit of joint collaboration in research and innovation, especially in emerging sectors.

Minister Morgan said:

This week I have cemented relationships with our Indian friends who are working to create a fair world, a principle which guides all our government work in Wales.

I look forward to collaborating with our Maharashtrian friends in influencing a Future Generations Act, and the Indian LGBTQ+ community and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil on advancing gay rights, as well as supporting work to prevent gender-based violence.

Tomorrow I will visit the state of Kerala to see how we can work together on a mutually beneficial health deal to provide work placement opportunities for nurses in our Welsh NHS. I hope to make an announcement on this in the coming days.

Derek Walker, Future Generations Commissioner, who has joined Minister Morgan on her India visit, said:

Wales is proud of its Well-being of Future Generations Act and is serious about the obligation it puts on us to be a nation of good ancestors.

The world needs more countries to legislate in the interests of future generations, if we are to collectively halt climate destruction and protect those people on the sharpest end of its impacts.

This shared mission with Maharashtra during Wales in India Year will allow both countries to work together for the sake of people who aren’t yet born, to share learning on implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and support current and future leaders to act now for a better tomorrow.

Siân Lewis, Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, part of Minister Morgan’s delegation to promote Her Future Coalition, a charity who works to combat gender-based violence, said:

We are delighted to be embarking on this journey with Her Future Coalition, as their unwavering commitment to vulnerable young girls is truly inspiring. Our #FelMerch (transl. ‘Like a Girl’) project was first launched to empower the young women of Wales, and we fully support Her Future Coalition’s work in creating a lasting change in India.

Twenty years ago, the Urdd established a partnership with the city and charities of Kolkata. We look forward to resuming our international volunteering programmes by taking a group of young ambassadors to India later this year to support Her Future Coalition’s programs and initiatives. We are not only going to India to impart knowledge, but also to learn and be inspired by their resilience, positivity, and creativity and how in the face of adversity, they forge self-sustaining paths for their future.

For the latest news and updates on Wales in India, follow @WalesInIndia on twitter and Wales in India on LinkedIn. (information txt from Welsh Gov Website.)

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