Abu Dhabi: India’s unity in diversity was on display as thousands of Indian expats in the UAE celebrated their country’s 69th Republic Day on Friday.
Indian missions in the UAE and The Indian High School in Dubai reverberated with the Indian national anthem, patriotic songs, and slogans praising their motherland.
The welfare of Indian blue-collar workers in the UAE is a top priority of the Indian Embassy in the capital, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, said on the occasion.
“I am very happy to see the presence of a large number of workers here,” the Indian Ambassador said, after hoisting the tricolour at a ceremony on the embassy premises on Friday morning in the presence of a large number of Indian community members.
He read out the Indian President’s Republic Day speech. Schoolchildren sang patriotic songs and performed dance and music programmes at the embassy auditorium.
The embassy was privileged to have the presence of top Emirati officials at a special reception hosted by the envoy on Thursday evening to mark Republic Day. Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance; Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State; Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University, and several senior officials and diplomats attended the event.
Shaikh Abdullah underlined the historical relations between the UAE and India in various fields.
The envoy said the embassy always tries to understand the workers’ problem and extend all possible support to them. “This is your embassy and our doors are always open for you.”
Suri said the embassy is run by the taxes paid by all Indians and nobody should hesitate to seek its assistance when needed. He reminded the community about the Open House at the embassy every morning on working days, which facilitates meeting with senior officers without an appointment.
The envoy also advised the needy workers to utilise the welfare fund of the embassy.
Talking about bilateral relations, the ambassador said India’s growing stature is reflected in the relations between the UAE and India. Dubai celebrations
In Dubai, Consul-General of India Vipul hoisted the tricolour flag at the Indian Consulate in Dubai and later at The Indian High School.
Vipul, Consul General Of India in Dubai, hoists the Indian flag at the Indian High School, Dubai. Clint Egbert/Gulf News
He also read out excerpts from the Indian’s president’s address to the nation delivered on the eve of Republic Day.
The occasion marks the anniversary of the country’s constitution coming into effect on January 26, 1950.
“If there is one place outside India where it should be most celebrated, it has to be Dubai,” Vipul said, lauding the large and vibrant Indian community here.
“It is here in Dubai that India is visible in its full diversity — whether it may be due to the places that we come from, the regions that we come from, our professions, or languages or other diversities we all have.”
He highlighted the major milestones achieved in the bilateral relations of the UAE and India, including the top-level visits of leaders to both countries in the past two years. “I am sure this momentum will continue in 2018,” he said.
Praising the contributions of the Indian community here, Vipul said the consulate will continue to strive to provide better and more efficient services to them.
He said the recent decisions to resume the Open House and also to set up committees including the participation of community members are expected to better support the community.
Urging Indians to actively participate in the activities of the Year of Zayed, he said: “This will be a tribute to his legacy of peace, progress and tolerance and these are also the values that India stands for.”
Famous Indian actor of yesteryears Vyjayanthimala was the guest of honour at the event which saw colourful cultural programmes showcasing the unity in diversity of India.
Diverse traditions and cultures across various states in India converged as thousands of students from the three campuses of the school presented the modernity and deep-rooted traditions of India in various programmes.
The performances were themed around women empowerment, anti-terrorism, sports and Clean India project.
Sunil Umrao Singh, chairman of the school, highlighted the achievements of the school in curricular and co-curricular fields.
Envoy highlights UAE-India ties
In a speech on the occasion, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri noted the strong relations between the two friendly countries, which have been established by the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and then followed by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
He added that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay an official visit to the UAE for the second time, during which he will discuss bilateral relations and major international issues.
“The UAE is the third largest trade partner of India after China and the United States of America,” he said, noting that India is working to attract more UAE investments in various sectors.
He proudly added, “Earlier this week, we saw the extraordinary gesture of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in honouring Mr Mohiedin, a humble office boy from Kerala who had worked for 40 years as a member of his staff. That little incident told us two important things: The grace, nobility and sheer class of the leadership in this country; and the respect earned by members of the Indian community — from the office boy and construction worker all the way to the top professionals and business leaders.”
UAE leaders greet Indian president
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of congratulation to President Ram Nath Kovind of India on his country’s Republic Day.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, dispatched similar messages of congratulation to the Indian president on the occasion.