India, Canada to jointly release Diwali stamps

India and Canada will jointly issue commemorative postage stamps on the theme of Diwali, the Indian government announced.

The stamps will be released on September 21 as per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the postal departments of the two countries.

“India and Canada have a long-standing close relationship based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, equality for all and rule of law. Strong people-to-people contacts and the presence of a large Indian Diaspora in Canada provide a strong foundation for the relationship,” said a statement from the Indian government.

It said the theme of Diwali was chosen “considering the large presence of Indian Diaspora” in Canada.

The decision on the issue was first made in February this year after a meeting between BV Sudhakar, secretary, department of posts, India, and Deepak Chopra, the Canada Post president. Chopra is a Canadian of Indian descent.

The stamps will be released in celebration of Diwali and of Canada’s 150th anniversary, Canada Post had said then in a statement.

“Issuing a joint stamp celebrating Diwali is a meaningful way to recognise the importance of this relationship to both countries,” Sudhakar was quoted as saying at the time. Chopra had said then, “This stamp – to mark the festival of Diwali – is Canada Post’s first joint issue with India. Not only will it represent our country’s proud diversity, it will celebrate the close bond between both countries.”

It was announced that both India and Canada will come up with a design each, and both stamps will be issued at the same time. Canada Post director of stamp services Jim Phillips said both versions of the stamps will be available in both nations, the publication added. The stamps, which will be in general circulation, will be valid for 10 years.

This is, however, not the first stamp released in Canada on the occasion of the Diwali festival. Two stamps on the theme were issued in 2011, but since they were not meant for mass circulation, they are not available any more. The stamps that will be out in September will, however, be like any other ordinary stamp. People will be use them for Canadian and Indian mail.

Canada had also released a postage stamp on the theme of Eid earlier this year, and will come up with one for the Jewish festival of Hanukkah as well.

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