Indians abroad celebrate Republic Day amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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Beijing/Singapore, Jan 26 (PTI) The Indian diaspora in China, Singapore, Australia and several other countries on Tuesday celebrated the 72nd Republic Day in a restricted manner and watched the cultural events virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Beijing, Ambassador Vikram Misri unfurled the national flag at the Indian embassy where the celebrations were restricted to officials of the mission and their families in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the Chinese capital and surrounding areas.

Misri read out President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation. He also released a special instrumental rendition of 'Vande Mataram' produced by Chaiti Arts Foundation.

Beijing and several cities are currently experiencing a relapse of coronavirus cases as result local governments have imposed measures to restrict public gatherings.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi on the occasion, saying 'our friendship grows from year to year'.

'To my great friend Prime Minister @NarendraModi - Congratulations to you and the people of India on your 72nd #RepublicDay. Our friendship grows from year to year,' Netanyahu tweeted, along with a photograph of Modi and himself, and the emoticons of handshake and the Indian, Israeli flags.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion.

'Kindly accept heartfelt congratulations on the national day – the Republic Day,' Putin said in his message posted on the Facebook account of the Russian Embassy in India.

'We value the relations of the privileged strategic partnership that exist between our countries. I am convinced that further strengthening of the whole gamut of the constructive Russian-Indian ties meets the interests of our friendly peoples and goes in line with enhancement of international stability and security,' he said.

In his video message posted on his Facebook account, French President Emmanuel Macron greeted Indians with Namaste.

'On this special occasion, I wish all the best to my friend Prime Minister Modi and all Indians. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, France and India share more than ever the same challenges, the same fights and the same willingness to treat everybody and to be present all together to face the challenge of the pandemic. We will fight together and we will win together,' he said.

The US too greeted India on the occasion, saying bilateral ties remain strong through the democratic ideals the two countries share. The Indian High Commission in Islamabad in a tweet said it celebrated the Republic Day with great enthusiasm.

Charge d'Affaires Suresh Kumar unfurled the tricolour and read excerpts from the president's message. A cultural programme of patriotic songs and poems was organised.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka celebrated Republic Day with members of the Indian community and with social distancing norms in place, it tweeted.

High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami unfurled the national flag and read out the message of the president during the event.

The tricolour was hoisted in the High Commission of India in Colombo by High Commissioner Gopal Baglay.

A cultural event organised on the occasion was live streamed.

In Australia, High Commissioner Gitesh Sarma unfurled the tricolour at the mission in Canberra and read out the president's address to the nation.

In Singapore, the High Commissioner of India, P Kumaran, led the Republic Day celebration at the mission by unfurling the national flag and reading President Kovind's message to the people through live streaming.

The ceremony was restricted to members of the High Commission for in person-presence due to COVID-19 safety measures.

Later this evening, the Republic Day celebration will be held virtually. Recorded messages will be played on the virtual platform. Singapore Minister in the Prime Minister Office, Dr Tan See Leng, will be representing the government, said the High Commission.

The Indian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, too celebrated the day. Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed unfurled the tricolour and read out the President’s Message to a limited gathering of Indian community members and mission officials due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the embassy said in a press release.

The event featured rendition of patriotic songs and dance performance by Indian school students. The programme was also streamed live through the embassy’s Youtube channel.

The Indian embassy in Nepal too celebrated the occasion.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatrato extended warm greetings to all Indian Nationals in Nepal, according to a tweet by the embassy.

In his video message to celebrate the birth of an “extraordinary Constitution” that established India “as the biggest sovereign democracy in the world”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his plan to visit India in the coming months.

In a programme organised by the Indian Embassy in Japan, the day was marked by 'Indian and Japanese national anthems followed by beautiful Bharatnatyam & Odissi classical dances performance by Japanese Friends. Many dignitaries graced event with their congratulatory messages. Event saw huge online participation,' the mission said in a tweet.

The day was also celebrated at Indian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.

Indian Ambassador Sripriya Ranganathan unfurled the tricolour. South Korean leaders also joined the celebrations. PTI TEAM SCY AKJ RS