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Republic Day celebrated in US, UK, South Africa

January 27, 2009 13:47 IST

Republic day was celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa, with unfurling of the tricolour and peace prayers held by the Indian community in these countries.

Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen unfurled the tricolour at a function held at the Indian Embassy in Washington, with a large number of community members from in and around the capital attending the event, at which President Pratibha Patil's message was read out.

In London, the celebration was marked by a special prayer for peace and prosperity at the centuries-old Westminster Abbey, one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.

India's High Commissioner to the UK, Shiv Shanker Mukherjee and senior officials of the India House were present at the Church as the 'Evensong', a prayer ceremony, by the Lay Vicars of Westminster Abbey, was held 'for the peace and prosperity of India, a member of the Commonwealth'.

Earlier, Mukherjee unfurled the National Flag at the India House to commemorate the 60th Republic Day of the country. The High commissioner read out the President's address to the nation on the eve of the Republic Day.

At Edinburgh, Scotland, the Republic Day was celebrated with flag hoisting ceremony at the residence of Ramesh Chander, Consul General of India.

Greeting and congratulating the Indian community on the occasion, Chander said it was a matter of satisfaction that India was on rails in its development efforts but needs to "guard against fissiparous tendencies and communal divide".

The Association of Indian Organisations and the Scottish Indian Cultural and Festival Committee, Glasgow handed over a cheque of 1,000 pounds to the Consul General for the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, two prominent politicians called for closer bonds with India.

The leader of the ruling African National Congress in the KwaZulu-Natal province, Zweli Mkhize; and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, were speaking at Republic Day celebrations in Durban on Monday night.

They were part of more than 600 prominent local leaders who attended the 60th Republic Day celebrations at the Durban City Hall, organised by the local Indian Consul General, Harsh Varshan Shringla.

The celebrations were characterised by Indian songs and classical dances performed by local Indian-origin artists.

Mkhize, who is expected to play a leading role in the next national government, paid tribute to people of Indian origin who promoted liberation struggles and were playing role in the nation's socio, economic and educational development

"India is now strengthening this bond by promoting and growing our economy in various areas," he said.

Shringla spoke about the growing strong political and economic relations between India and South Africa.

"Since we celebrated our last Republic Day in 2008, bilateral cooperation between India and South Africa have progressed rapidly, manifested by the visits to India of President Kgalema Motlanthe for India-Brazil-South Africa summit in October and President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, in July 2008," said Shringla.

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