Pride, positivity and cheer mark India's 68th Republic Day celebrations in UAE

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Pawan Kumar unfurls the Indian flag at the embassy in Abu Dhabi (left) and students sing a patriotic song during the flag hoisting ceremony (right)
Pawan Kumar unfurls the Indian flag at the embassy in Abu Dhabi (left) and students sing a patriotic song during the flag hoisting ceremony (right)

At the embassy here, people reacted by happily waving the Indian tricolour.

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Thu 26 Jan 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017, 11:02 PM

There was a newfound optimism in the air as Indian expats celebrated the 68th Republic Day at the Indian Embassy in the Capital on Thursday.
It was not without reason.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was the cynosure of all eyes in the land of the world's largest democracy on Thursday.
At the embassy here, people reacted by happily waving the Indian tricolour. A profound sense of pride filled the air as the Charge d' Affaires (ad interim) Pavan Kumar Rai hoisted the national flag and the national anthem reverberated around. Rai read out the Indian president's speech and the audience came alive with chants of 'Jai Hind' at its conclusion.
Rai said Sheikh Mohamed's visit will help take bilateral ties to the next level.
"This is a proud day for every Indian, but this year is very significant one as Sheikh Mohamed is the chief guest at the Republic Day. It's a privilege and honour to have him there. This is the result of our strengthening bilateral relationship, which has been growing in last few years. We look forward to this visit being a milestone in our ties," he told Khaleej Times.
Rai said it would have been a "unique experience" for Sheikh Mohamed to see how India conducts the Republic Day parade in terms of grandeur and participation. He added that the leader's visit will bring more focus on India, especially from young Emiratis.
"Sheikh Mohamed is a youth icon and young Emiratis closely follow him. We look forward to this visit helping build business with young Emiratis. Sheikh Mohamed's visit showcases India in a good light. It generates interest in India economically, politically and culturally. This is a good day for us," he added.
Prominent members of the Indian community and blue collar workers were present at the event.
Indian Embassy's First Secretary (Labour and Community Affairs) Dinesh Kumar said the presence of workers is always a pleasing sight. "It's good to see them joining the function. We always invite workers who tirelessly help build this nation and send huge remittances to India. They will have a sense of belonging and pride at the Republic Day function at the Embassy," Kumar said.
The workers, too, were jubilant. "This makes us feel important. The Indian Embassy shows a big heart by inviting poor people like us," a worker said.
The Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, is in New Delhi coordinating Sheikh Mohamed's visit.
Songs sung in Abu Dhabi match events in New Delhi
Unbelievable coincidence or divine intervention of sorts stunned Indians gathered at the Indian Embassy for the 68th Republic Day celebrations.
The national flag hoisting ceremony was followed by schoolchildren singing patriotic songs at the embassy. It was a brief cultural function of 15-20 minutes but one which had a perfect synchronisation with what happened at Rajpath in New Delhi.
It was classic timing when students of Ryan Private School sang Sandese Aate Hain . (messages keep coming) as it matched with arrival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the main stand of Rajpath.
Three minutes later, when Indian President Pranab Mukherjee escorted His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Rajpath, the song that ringed was Maa Tujhe Salaam . (Salute to you, mother) again sung by the same school.
And as if on cue, there was a minute's silence when one school made way for another's performance and in New Delhi it was time for the National Anthem.
And moments later, when history was made with the march past of the UAE military contingent, Bright Riders School sang Kandhon Se Milte Hain Kandhe Hum Chalte Hain . (Matching shoulder-to-shoulder, we move).
These were too good to be true moments when songs matched with incidents happening over 2,200km away. The UAE-India synergy was in full flow in Abu Dhabi and New Delhi.
And there were many at the embassy watching the historic Republic Day parade in New Delhi live on their mobile phones. Among them was Meera Gangadharan. "This is a hair-raising moment. I can't tell how excited I am," she said showing the arrival of Sheikh Mohamed at Rajpath.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com


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