Patriotic fervour grips Indians worldwide on 67th R-Day
Bangkok/Melbourne: The tricolour today fluttered proudly at Indian missions across the globe amid melodious strains of the national anthem as hundreds of Indians gathered to celebrate the country's 67th Republic Day.
Across the entire South East Asia - in Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia, patriotic fervour gripped Indians who turned out in large numbers to mark the celebrations.
Cultural festivities were held amid strains of the mellifluous 'Jana Gana Mana' and the unfurling of the national tricolour accompanied by falling rose petals at Indian embassies and high commissions.
In Bangkok, more than 550 Indian nationals and friends of India, braved the sudden drop in temperature to attend the function at the Indian embassy premises.
The flag was unfurled by ambassador Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, who took over recently from Harshvardhan Shringla. The latter is now India's envoy to Bangladesh.
Bishnoi also read out excerpt from President Pranab Mukherjee's address.
Later, schoolchildren sang songs to regale the audience following which Bishnoi presented some gifts to them as a token of appreciation.
In Hanoi, India's Ambassador to Vietnam Preeti Saran hoisted the national flag and read out excerpts of the President's message to the nation which was extremely well received. At least 200 members of the Indian community attended the function despite the cold weather and rains.
In Kuala Lumpur, India's High Commissioner to Malaysia T S Tirumurti unfurled the tricolour, which was followed by singing of the national anthem in chorus by all the guests assembled at the India House.
Later, patriotic songs were sung by students.
Despite being a working day, the function was attended by about 300 people.
In Australia, the Republic Day celebrations coincided with the Australia Day - the country's official National Day.
The celebrations were held across the country by a large number of Indian diaspora members who attended the Indian flag-hoisting ceremonies and other events held across the cities.
In the capital Canberra, Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri unfurled the tricolour at a function held at the Indian High Commission building with a large number of community members from in and around the capital.
The High Commissioner read out the President's address to the nation to almost 300 guests, including Indians, who also sang the National Anthem.
Suri also briefed the community about major developments in the growing Indo-Australia relationship and initiatives taken by the government to further improve services relating to the Indian diaspora.
He also drew attention to the epic 'Spirit of India Run'
that the distinguished ultra marathoner Australian, Pat Farmer, would undertake from Kanyakumari today.
The 53-year-old former Australian minister would kick off his 66-day-long run, symbolising that India and Australia celebrated their special day on the same date. Pat plans to cover 4,600 kms and would be wearing a Go Pro camera on his head to show India through his eyes.
In Melbourne, the celebrations were also marked by the flag-hoisting ceremony at the embassy by the Consul General Manika Jain.
For the first time, in what is famously known as the 'Little India' precinct of Melbourne, a small gathering of Indians celebrated both Australia Day and Republic Day.
Members including local politicians of Indian-origin Intaj Khan and Manoj Kumar, and Indian traders of the precinct sang national anthems of the two countries and unfurled both the nationalflags.
In Sydney too, the flag-hoisting ceremony was held to mark the occasion.
Meanwhile, congratulating India on its special day, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tweeted: "Best wishes and congratulations to you and the People of Indiaon Republic Day".
Echoing similar sentiments, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said: "Indian Australians have made invaluable contributions to the social, cultural, professional and economic life of New South Wales.
"Like Australia's vibrant multicultural society, the Indian community is home to many ancestries and languages, with members arriving from a variety of countries to make their new home here."
"After my visit to India last year, I am confident that our nations will grow even closer as we embrace trade partnerships and cultural opportunities," he said.
He also praised the Indian community for its commitment to interfaith dialogue and in fostering social harmony, and wished everyone a happy and safe holiday season.
Australia Day commemorates the establishment of the first European settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788.
In Singapore, High Commissioner Vijay Thakur Singh led the Indian community here to celebrate the Republic Day, unfurling the tricolour.
Singh read out the President's address to the nation to more than 400 Indians attending the celebrations.
Students from local Indian schools sang the national anthem followed by patriotic songs.