The city’s diplomatic fraternity saw an addition on February 16 when city-based businessman Arvind Sukhani was anointed the first honorary consul of Lithuania in Calcutta. In the absence of the Prime Minister of Lithuania, whose India trip was cancelled at the last moment, the honours were done by ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpsa who flew in from Delhi.
The event at Taj Bengal also marked the National Day of Lithuania. “On this day, 98 years ago, we became free. Very few people thought it would happen except 3 million people on the shores of the Baltic Sea. In 1940, we lost our freedom again to aggressors. But again the willpower of the people prevailed and our freedom was restored in 1990,” said the ambassador in a heartfelt speech.
He referred also to Lithuania’s growing ties with Calcutta in recent times through the conferring of the DLitt degree posthumously on Lithuanian traveller and anthropologist Antanas Poska by Calcutta University in 2014.
The letter of appointment signed by the foreign affairs minister was then read out followed by the ceremony. A translation of a history of Lithuania in Bengali was also released.
Pictures: B. Halder