Abu Dhabi/Dubai: From Indian missions and associations to major landmarks, Indian expats celebrated their country’s 73rd Independence Day in style across various locations in the UAE on Thursday.
Traditional pomp and patriotism were on display when hundreds of Indians converged at their diplomatic missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to rejoice the day with fellow citizens and diplomats.
At the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the Indian Ambassdor to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri hoisted the tricolour national flag. He also unveiled a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the mission, as this year marks the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation who was the leader of India’s independence movement to free the country from British rule.
The celebration of Gandhian values also highlights India’s strong commitment to peace, tolerance and non-violence, Suri said.
He also sent out his wishes to Indian expats on the occasion of the Hindu festival Rakshabandhan, and stressed upon the mission’s unwavering efforts in ensuring the welfare of the Indian community in the UAE.
In Dubai, Consul General of India Vipul also unfurled the tricolour.
The Consul General emphasised the growth of India-UAE bilateral relations in various sectors, the high-level state visits between the two countries and the government initiatives that have been beneficial to the expat community.
“Overall we are in a very special place. Here in the UAE, we are 3.3million plus Indians,” he said.
“The endeavour of the consulate is to give the best services… I must say that we receive great cooperation from the UAE authorities in resolving all cases [the mission receives].”
He said India is all set to make sure that its participation in the Dubai Expo2020 will be as big as its relationship with the UAE.
The top diplomats read out excerpts of the Indian President’s address to the nation on the eve of the Independence Day. Both the missions also held cultural programmers showcasing the unity in diversity of their country.
The Ambassador later celebrated Independence Day by ringing the market-opening bell at Nasdaq Dubai stock exchange.
On Wednesday night, he had also inaugurated the “Celebrating India Festival” of the Lulu Hypermarket chain.
The Abu Dhabi International Airport also hosted a celebration of the Indian Independence Day by receiving passengers from India with tricolour flags, balloons and flower garlands.
Patriotic emotions ran high as people dressed in tricolours of the national flag chanted Jai Hind and Vande Mataram (slogans hailing the motherland) and also sang their national anthem in Dubai.
Some Indian parents brought children as young as one month to celebrate the day at the consulate.
Sagar Srivastava, an aircraft technician with Emirates Airlines, and wife Neha set off from their Sharjah home with their children Barbie, four, and Samrat, two, at 6.30am to attend the event.
“I want them to grow up seeing all this and be rooted to our culture and traditions,” said the patriotic father.
Ashok Chauhan, an engineer from Mumbai, also took along his four children. His newborn daughter, one-month-old Lashika, was the youngest Indian expatriate present.
Priyanka Dawar from Mumbai who runs an agricultural export business in Dubai said participating in the celebrations was an overwhelming experience since she has been an expat for five years.
“I just feel it is a good way to connect with your country. I wish that even the expats would get the opportunity to vote. We need a legal way soon. I’m sure the Modi government will find a way and I hope [the voting system] will not be corrupted.”
Three software engineers with Tata Consultancy Services — Paras Manidas, Vinayak Kalal and Srinath Buyyani – who were on a visit to Dubai from Saudi Arabia, said they extended their Eid holidays to experience the Independence Day celebrations in Dubai. They were also looking forward to watching the LED display of the Indian flag on the Burj Khalifa at night.
Meanwhile, Indian businessman Iqbal Hatboor and friends celebrated the Independence Day in style by holding a cake cutting ceremony atop the helipad in Burj Al Arab. The Keralite, who is married to an Emirati, also pledged his support for the flood relief operations back home.