Indians across the world mark Independence Day with fervour
Patriotic fervour gripped Indians across the globe as they proudly marked the country's 70th Independence Day today, unfurling the tricolour and organising cultural festivities to mark the occasion.
Indians in countries like Pakistan, China, the US, the UK, Thailand and Singapore joined people in India to celebrate the day with recital of patriotic songs and dance performances representing the diverse ethnicity of India.
The Indian High Commission in Islamabad organised a simple ceremony to celebrate the Independence Day. High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale led the flag hoisting ceremony in the sprawling High Commission.
"All staff of the High Commission was present on the occasion. Three MPs from India, including Devji Mansinghram Patel, Alok Tiwari and Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, also participated in the Independence Day celebrations," a mission spokesperson said.
A cultural programme was also organised.
In Beijing, Indian Ambassador Vijay Gokhale hoisted the tricolour in the embassy premises at a function that was attended by members of the Indian community.
A large of number of Indian professionals besides embassy staff took part in the flag hoisting ceremony along with their families.
Gokhale also read out President Pranab Mukherjee's address to the nation followed by recital of patriotic songs.
In Shanghai, Consulate General of India Prakash Gupta hosted the celebrations. Gupta unfurled the tricolour besides reading out excerpts from the President's address. A similar celebration was held at the Indian Consulate in Guangzhou led by Consulate General Y K Sailas Thangal.
In the US, the Independence Day was celebrated on a large scale in Fremont in California and Edison in New Jersey where thousands of people attended the event amid a colorful cultural extravaganza.
In cities like Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Orlando and Minneapolis, community organisations held cultural events over the weekend to celebrate the Independence Day.
A sell-out concert by popular Bollywood singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and a first-ever flash mob by an Indian women's group in the UK were among the events held to celebrate the day.
Khan described his concert yesterday as a symbol of India-Pakistan unity as it also coincided with Pakistani Independence Day on August 14.
"This event proves there are no divides," he said at London s O2 Arena, where he performed some of his biggest hits including his late uncle, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's famous Qawwali numbers like 'Kinna Sona' and 'Yeh Jo Halka Halka'.
Indian Ladies in UK (ILUK) used a flash mob, or a brief dance act performed at a public place, at the iconic Trafalgar Square in London on Saturday to celebrate Independence Day.
The weekend-long celebrations included a series of smaller Indian-themed street events across the UK.
The official annual Independence Day celebration by the Indian High Commission in the UK will take place on August 21 in the form of a mela at the Indian Gymkhana Club in south-west London.
In Kathmandu, Ambassador Ranjit Rae hoisted the national flag and read out the message of the President of India.
Rae distributed cheques worth Nepalese Rs Four crores and blankets to fourteen ex-servicemen, widows, next of kins and dependents of deceased soldiers of Indian Armed Forces. Books were also donated to fifty nine libraries, educational and training institutions located in different regions of Nepal, including in remote districts.
On this occasion, forty ambulances and eight buses were gifted to various hospitals, non-profit charitable organizations and educational institutions of different districts to strengthen education and health services in Nepal. The ceremony concluded with a cultural programme.
In Bangkok, Indian Ambassador Bhawant Singh Bishnoi said, "2016 has been a most significant year for our bilateral relationships".
Bishnoi, in his speech to over 500 people gathered at the embassy premises, said Thailand remains one of India's "closest" friends.
"People to people linkages are one of the most important aspects of our bilateral relationships. Central to this is the role played by the Indian community," he said and commended the significant contribution by ethnic Indians and Indian nationals to the economic and social development of Thailand.
Indian Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates echoed with melodious strains of the national anthem as children and the hundreds of Indians joined to sing patriotic songs in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Yangon, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.
In Singapore, India's High Commissioner Vijay Thakur Singh celebrated the day, reading out President Mukherjee's Independence Day message to some 600 Indians.
Students from local Indian schools also sang patriotic songs and staged dance performances in a cultural show.
In a congratulatory message on the Independence Day of India, Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam reaffirmed strong bilateral relations and underlined that "relations between Singapore and India remain strong and will grow despite challenges in the global economy".
"As our people-to-people relations flourish, I am delighted by the excellent progress in bilateral projects and initiatives on various fronts including trade, skills development, defence cooperation, and Smart Cities development," said Tan.
In Kuala Lumpur, High Commissioner TS Tirumurti hoisted the flag at India House. About 350 people attended the ceremony that also witnessed a Carnatic singing performance.
The High Commissioner also flagged off a Malaysia- Thailand-Myanmar-India car rally by Vinayak Mission that will cover 46,000 Kms and end in Salem Tamil Nadu.
In Hanoi, around 250 members of the Indian community and friends of India attended the hoisting of the tricolour by Ambassador P Harish, who also read out the President's address.