Kodungaloor (Kerala): President Pranab Mukherjee today said India is desirous of once again emerging as a major centre for international trade and become a maritime power as he inaugurated the country's largest heritage conservation project here.
The initiative called the Muziris heritage project is an ambitious plan comprising development and conservation of palaces, museums, a synagogue and a number of archaeological monuments in the state and is being implemented by the Kerala Tourism department with support of its central counterpart.
"Being the largest conservation project in the country and first green project of Kerala government, Muziris heritage project has a lot to boast about, be it in the area of heritage, conservation or tourism," he said.
Mukherjee said he has been informed that the next phase of this project is the 'Spice Route Initiative' which will explore international connections and linkages that the Malabar coast had with many parts of the world.
"The Spice Route Initiative is both important and timely with India seeking to once again emerge as a major centre of international trade and transport as well as a maritime power," he said.
The Spice Route initiative aims to link 41 countries in Asia and Europe with India. The President lauded Kerala's "spirit of tolerance and catholicity of outlook".
"The Muziris heritage project celebrates this magnificent heritage of our land where people of different religions, castes and languages live in harmony. This project reminds us that our history is one of assimilation, mutual respect and celebration of our differences, respecting each other's beliefs and values," Mukherjee said.
He said India has always been one of the most cosmopolitan societies around the globe as it is "comfortable in dealing with diversity and welcoming of new ideas and cultures."
"I hope this project will spread the message of Indian cosmopolitanism far and wide adding thereby to India's soft power across the world," the President said.