Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

UAE leaders congratulate India on independence day

More than a billion Indians marked their country's anniversary of independence from British rule

The UAE's leaders congratulated India as it marked its independence day on Saturday.

President Sheikh Khalifa sent a congratulatory message to President Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion, which is celebrated on August 15.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also sent messages to President Kovind.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed dispatched similar messages to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion.

On August 15, 1947, the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947 came into effect, giving India's Constituent Assembly the power to make laws and decisions about the country's own future.

For the previous century, between 1858 and 1947, India was ruled by Britain as a colony - a period of huge economic growth for Britain and economic stagnation for India.

Leaders including Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Sri Lanka's leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, who country gained independence months later in February 1948, wished the country well on the occasion.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Modi announced a massive $1.46 trillion stimulus package to spend on infrastructure projects to boost the country's economy, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The coronavirus epidemic is a big crisis, but it can't stall India's economic progress," Mr Modi said in a speech from New Delhi's 17th century Mughal-era Red Fort.

The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 4.5 per cent for the Indian economy in 2020 - but said the country is expected to bounce back in 2021.

Mr Modi said the government had identified about 7,000 projects that would offset the damage caused by the pandemic.

"Infrastructure will not be created in silos anymore. All infrastructure has to be comprehensive, integrated and linked to each other. Multi-modal connectivity infrastructure is the way forward," he said.

Updated: August 15, 2020 07:41 PM

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