A group of G20 delegates, including three from Turkiye, who are currently in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch for the influential bloc's first meeting under the tourism track, is slated to visit on Friday an iconic memorial in Bhuj built after the deadly 2001 earthquake.
Their visit will take place days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and several powerful aftershocks hit Turkiye and Syria, killing over 17,000 people and flattening thousands of buildings.
Turkiye is a member of the G20, or Group of 20, an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies.
The death toll in Turkiye since the Monday quake has risen to more than 14,000, with over 63,000 injured, according to international media reports.
Over 100 delegates, including both from India and foreign countries have taken part in the G20 event held at the pristine Rann of Kutch being hosted from February 7-9.
"The first tourism working group meeting had started from February 7. On that day, one-minute silence was observed to express deepest sympathies and solidarity for the loss of lives lost due to the devastating earthquake in Turkiye and Syria," a senior official told PTI on Thursday.
Asked if any Turkish member is part of the delegation, he said, "three delegates are from Turkiye".
"On Friday, the delegates will visit the Smriti Van memorial in Bhuj that has been built after the devastating 2001 earthquake," the official said.
The visit to the memorial is part of the planned itinerary for the G20 event.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel in his address during the main event on Wednesday had expressed his condolences on the loss of lives in the earthquake.
"Two decades ago, Kutch had suffered a devastating quake. G20 member country Turkey (now Turkiye) also suffered the devastation of an earthquake recently. We express our wholehearted condolences over the loss of lives in Turkey," he had said.
G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, the UK, the US, and the European Union (EU).
On Thursday, the delegates visited Dholavira, a Harappan-era site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Gujarat, and attended an event on archaeological tourism, the official said.
The official meeting ended on Thursday and on Friday, the delegates will return to Delhi. But, before flying out of the Bhuj airport, they will visit the Smriti Van memorial in Bhuj, built after the deadly 2001 earthquake.
"The memorial offers a simulative experience and visitors in a way can feel the impact," Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh had earlier said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August last year had inaugurated Smriti Van memorial, which celebrates the resilience shown by people during the devastating 2001 earthquake in the Kutch region of Gujarat.
The grand structure, which is the first such memorial in the country according to a Gujarat government official, is spread over 470 acres on Bhujio Hill near Bhuj town.
It celebrates the spirit of resilience in the wake of the death of nearly 13,000 people during the earthquake on January 26, 2001, which had its epicentre in Bhuj.
The memorial carries names of the people who lost their lives during the earthquake. It also has a state-of-the-art Smriti Van Earthquake Museum.
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