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Carnival cream on Xmas cake

Calcutta, Sept. 19: Christmas will be more colour, light and fun this year with a carnival, film festival, sports events and exhibitions. Business, too, will feature on the list of December dos being lined up to showcase the warmth Bengal shares with Britain.

Announcing the year-end plans at the British Council today, British high commissioner to India Rob Young said the two-week event in December will help highlight India-Britain ties.

Costumes, choreographers, music and art directors will be flown in from UK. Dancers from the state will hit the streets of the city to add the local flavour.

The carnival — a festival of dance and story-telling — having elements of Indian art and craft, Afro-Asian beats, tune and dance is popular in Britain. India has been a major influence in these celebrations. The spirit of the carnival made it to UK mostly through the Indian migrants in the Caribbean islands.

Commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen witnessed the razzmatazz of the carnival on Sunday. He was in London to interact with businessmen and British officials on trade and to woo investors to the state. Calcutta’s riverfront will witness the glitz and glamour of the carnival this winter.

British companies will come to the city in December to participate in the events and interact with their counterparts here. “There might be a seminar on development issues,” said an official of the deputy high commission.

In 2001, trade between UK and India stood at close to £5 billion. It has grown by 67 per cent since 1993. British exports to India include non-metallic minerals, gold, power-generating, telecom and transport equipment and industrial machinery. The imports from India comprise textiles, readymade garments, gems and jewellery, footwear, metal manufactures, vegetables and fruits.

Young said the Confederation of Indian Industry and its counterpart in Britain had set a target last year of doubling bilateral trade in five years.

It is “ambitious but attainable. We can foresee growth in IT, telecom, automobile, healthcare, leisure and tourism,” said Young.

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