Cuttack: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday proposed to declare Cuttack and Bali as “sister cities” in view of the rich historic links between Odisha and Indonesia.
Mr Pradhan made the suggestion while participating in the ongoing three-day Kalinga-Indonesia Dialogue here at Ravenshaw University, pointing out that Cuttack had played a central role in establishing cultural ties with Indonesia.
“To enrich the bond and to ensure development for Cuttack, steps should be made to declare Cuttack and Bali as sister cities,” Mr Pradhan said assuring that he would take up the issue with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Tracing the trade and cultural links between ancient Kalinga and the erstwhile independent archipelagos of Bali, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and others, Mr Pradhan said the people of Cuttack still remember the valiant ventures of those seafaring traders by observing ‘Boita Bandana’ and the ‘Baliyatra’ every year on the day of Kartika Purnima on the banks of Mahanadi.
The Union minister further suggested that the same rituals and festivals could also be organised in Bali to strengthen the ties between the two cities.
Rueing over the fact that very less has been explored about the 2000-year-old foreign trade of the erstwhile Kalinga with that of other places across the globe through sea routes using non-mechanised boats, Mr Pradhan urged the international studies department of the University to scan the present socio-economic-cultural changes of those countries against the backdrop of their ancient links with Kalinga.