The Aga Khan, founder of Aga Khan Development Network, give a speech at the 2017 Asia Game Changer Awards and Gala Dinner in Manhattan, New York, U.S. November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky - RC1836013A00
Global Shia spiritual leader, the Aga Khan, has arrived in India on a 10-day visit, that will coincide with the commemoration of his diamond jubilee, marked across the world.
Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini (the Aga Khan IV) reached Delhi yesterday and is visiting the country on the invitation of the government of India, his philanthropy body, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) said.
"This visit is part of a series of visits that coincide with the commemoration of the Aga Khan's Diamond Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of his leadership as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community," the AKDN said in a statement.
The Aga Khan's jubilees have traditionally served as opportunities to launch or advance social, cultural and economic development projects.
While in Delhi, the Aga Khan is also to meet with President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the AKDN said.
"These include the development of hospitals, schools, universities, cultural and financial institutions that serve people of all backgrounds and faiths," it said.
Alongside, Naidu is scheduled to inaugurate 90-acre Sunder Nursery in south Delhi this evening.
The project is undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which for over a decade, has been engaged in undertaking a unique urban renewal initiative in the Humayun's Tomb-Nizamuddin area of Delhi.
"The project draws upon the Aga Khan's conviction that cultural legacies can become powerful catalysts for change," the AKDN said.
As many as 20,000 saplings of 280 tree species have been planted - making Sunder Nursery, the Delhi's first arboretum; and over 80 bird species have already been recorded since the overgrown and decrepit nursery was replaced with green cover, it said.
"Six of the 15 monuments on the site have been designated as World Heritage monuments following conservation and landscape restoration; and facilities such as an amphitheatre have been built and more are planned," the statement said.
The conservation and development effort is in partnership with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
Sunder Nursery is the seventh park of urban scale developed by the AKTC, the statement said.
"Other parks that have been developed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture include those in Afghanistan, Canada, Egypt, Mali, Tajikistan and Zanzibar," it said.
He will travel to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Mumbai where he will meet with the Governor and chief minister of Gujarat, the governor, chief minister and deputy chief minister of Telangana and the governor and chief minister of Maharashtra, it said.
In 2015, the Aga Khan was awarded the Padma Vibhushan one of the country's highest civilian decorations, for his contributions to social development in India.