"The people of North East serve as sentinels in guarding the easternmost part of the country and feel proud to be Indians. The people of mainland India should treat our people equally without racial discriminations," Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering who declared the festival open, said.
Referring to M C Mary Kom's Olympic success, Ering said that youths of the region should take inspiration from her.
"North East has many talents like Mary and state governments should make efforts for their proper exposure," he said.
"The festival is conceptualized to promote the rich cultural heritage of various tribes and people of North Eastern states, foster national integrity and to know each other better through exchange of culture," he said.
One act plays, folk songs, folk dances, instrumental guitar and rock band competitions besides cultural displays by troupes from participating states are the major highlights of the cultural extravaganza.