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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Varanasi is SCO's Tourism and Cultural Capital

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The Indian city of Varanasi has been nominated as the first SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital for 2022-2023. The nomination took place at the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the summit, a source in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.


The nomination of Varanasi as the first-ever SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital will promote tourism, cultural and humanitarian exchanges between India and the SCO member countries.


It also underlines India’s ancient civilisational links with member states of SCO, especially the Central Asian republics.


The regulations for the nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with the objective of promoting cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of culture and tourism.


Under the framework of this major cultural outreach programme, a number of events will be hosted in Varanasi during 2022-23, for which guests will be invited to participate from SCO member states.


These events are expected to attract Indologists, scholars, authors, musicians and artists, photojournalists, travel bloggers and other invited guests.


The regulations for the nomination of the SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital were adopted at the Dushanbe SCO Summit in 2021 with the objective of promoting cooperation between the SCO member states in the field of culture and tourism.


At a media briefing, Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary, said, “This is a befitting recognition of the historic city and opens the door for greater cultural and people-to-people ties between India and the region.”


The venue for the first SCO Tourism and Cultural Capital would witness national and international events in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre to celebrate this recognition, Kwatra said.


Varanasi, as per SCO’s decision, “would see a special working group on start-ups and innovation at India’s initiative,” he said.


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