Indian expatriates celebrate 62nd Independence Day
08/15/2009 10:15 PM
Abu Dhabi: Indian expatriates in the UAE celebrated Independence Day on Saturday, saluting the tricolour at various functions organised across the country.
A large number of community members attended the celebrations at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Indian High School in Dubai.
India's Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad hoisted the national flag at the Indian Embassy premises early on Saturday.
Members of the community, including women and children, carrying Indian national flags reached the embassy early in the morning to attend the function.
Mani Shankar Aiyar, former Union minister, addressed the gathering as the chief guest. He talked about the challenges of empowering the poor in India. He stressed the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi's goal to empower the masses through 'panchayats' [village administrations].
Ahmad then read out the Indian President's message to the nation.
About 2,000 people attended the ceremony at Indian High School in Dubai organised by the Consulate General of India, Dubai.
Consul General Venu Rajamony hoisted the national flag and addressed the gathering. He said that the UAE has always welcomed Indians with open arms and Indians living in the UAE must bear in mind the welfare of the country they reside in.
He also read out extracts from the Indian President's speech to the nation. This was followed by a cultural programme of patriotic songs and dances by school children.
About 300 members attended the Independence Day function at the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Y. Sudhir Kumar Shetty, the president of the ISC hoisted the national flag.
A cultural programme organised by all five registered Indian organisations in Abu Dhabi - ISC, Indian Islamic Centre, Indian Ladies Association, Kerala Social Centre and Abu Dhabi Malayalee Samajam - was held at the ISC auditorium yesterday evening.
Aiyar was the chief guest and Ahmad was the guest of honour on the occasion.
Abu Dhabi Speaking on the sidelines of the Independence Day celebrations at the Indian Embassy here Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad said that the UAE acts as a bridge between India and its neighbours.
Booming non-oil trade between the countries means a huge quantity of Indian products are re-exported to Pakistan and Afghanistan, which normally do not have easy access to Indian products.
Indian goods also reach East Africa through Dubai which has opened a market of large geographical area for India, he said.
"During the first nine months of 2008-09, India's non-oil trade with the UAE has reached at $30 billion (about Dh110 billion)," he said.
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