India’s 69th Republic Day was widely celebrated across the Emirates this weekend, including live performances, meetings with labourers and a ceremony that was attended by a number of UAE royals and officials.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, highlighted the significant historical relationship between India and the UAE during a reception held by Navdeep Suri, ambassador of India to the UAE, at the InterContinental hotel last night.
Also attending the reception were Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, President of Zayed University, and Dr Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State.
"India is the third largest trade partner of India after China and the United States of America," said Mr Suri, adding that India is working on attracting more investments from the UAE.
He cited an incident earlier this week when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, honoured “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,” he added.
Earlier Friday, a flag-hoisting ceremony took place at 7am at the India Social & Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi.
Ambassador Suri also hoisted the Republic Day tricolor at the Consulate General of India in Dubai, which was attended by hundreds of Indian expats.
The consulate’s celebrations kicked off last night with a six-hour singing performance in 120 languages by a 12-year-old.
The ambassador also met with a number of Indian workers and told them that they have his full support and opened all doors of communication for them with the embassy.
A cultural program will be held Saturday evening at 8pm at the ISC as well.
The celebrations come ahead of an official visit next month by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting the UAE for the second time to discuss major international issues and co-operation between both countries.