The Indian Council for Cultural Relations will organise the fifth International Ramayana Festival between September 17-19 as part of the Modi government's exercise to project the cultural aspect of India's soft power. Home Minister Amit Shah will inaugurate the festival, which will see participation of groups from eight countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe told reporters on Friday.
After the national capital, the festival will be held in Lucknow between September 20-22 and in Pune on September 21. The groups will also visit Ayodhya, the holy town where Lord Ram is believed to have been born.
Asked if they will also visit the Ram temple at the disputed site, the exact place where Hindus believe Ram was born, Sahasrabuddhe said it is "natural". There will be, however, no performance in the town. He said cultural dimension is an important aspect of soft power and the Union government since 2015 has projected it strongly.
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