Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has ordered to allocate 10 million rupees (approximately $210,000) to establish an infrastructure and restore the Roerich home in Naggar (Kulu valley in the state of Himachal-Pradesh). Vajpayee is honorary president of the Roerich International Memorial Trust Council. A broad programme of the centre's renovation and development was approved last summer. It is aimed at making Nicholas Roerich's estate not only an object of pilgrimage by arts-lovers from India, Russia, and other countries, but also a haunt for painters and scientists from all quarters of the world. Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) was a Russian painter, archeologist, writer, initiator of the drive to protect cultural memorials. He lived in India from the 1920s. It is planned to re-establish the Roerich Botanical Institute in Naggar. The estate supervisor is to be appointed soon, it will be a Russian scientist. The Russian side hopes, in its turn, to establish an international Roerich studies institute, based on the current arts gallery, and open a museum of Nicholas Roerich's son, Svyatoslav (1904-1993), in the southern estate of Tataguni. Svyatoslav's artistic works are a common cultural heritage of the two peoples - the Russian and the Indian. The Russian Embassy in India is taking an active part in the project and has already raised over 2 million rupees from Russian sponsors. Besides, due to the Embassy's efforts, 437 paintings by Nicholas Roerich and 4.5 tonnes of the family's archives were returned to Moscow in 1991.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea