Tashkent : External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Sunday paid tribute to former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Tashkent.
Swaraj laid floral wreath on Shastri's bust. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, "EAM @SushmaSwaraj paying floral tribute to freedom fighter and 2nd Prime Minister of India Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Tashkent."
Earlier, Swaraj inaugurated a mango festival organised by the Government of Uttar Pradesh with the participation of mango exporters in Tashkent.
Kumar wrote on the micro-blogging site, "Promoting Indian mangoes in Uzbekistan! EAM @SushmaSwaraj inaugurated a Mango Festival organised by the Government of Uttar Pradesh with participation of mango exporters in Tashkent. The exporters will visit fruit markets and meet fruit traders."
While interacting with Uzbek Indologists, Hindi teachers and alumni of ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme), Swaraj said that love and respect for Indian culture is visible everywhere in Uzbekistan.
She underlined that although both India and Uzbekistan had established diplomatic ties 25 years ago, the relations between the two nations were built on the foundation of centuries-old historical and cultural ties.
Stressing on people-to-people relations, Swaraj continued, "The love for our language Hindi and classical dances like Kathak and Bharatnatyam in Russia, Uzbekistan, and other neighbouring countries is very much visible."
She said that Bollywood films had made a huge contribution for facilitating closer people-to-people ties between India and Russia and other Central Asian nations.
Underscoring the popularity of late superstar Raj Kapoor in the region, Swaraj noted, "In Russia and Uzbekistan, even if the people knew or did not know the names of government leaders, they always knew Raj Kapoor, which is a household name in both countries."
Currently, Swaraj is on a three-nation tour to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. This is her first visit to the Central Asian countries as the External Affairs Minister.
In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the EAM held talks with the leadership of both countries, attended cultural programmes and interacted with the Indian communities residing in two nations.
After completing her engagements in Uzbekistan, Swaraj is expected to leave for India later in the day.