The 69th Republic Day drew big celebrations not just in India but outside as well. Scores of diplomats including ambassadors of four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, France and Britain attended one of the largest Republic Day receptions at the United Nations headquarters, besides events across the US as well.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, was the only P-5 country envoy not to attend the impressive Republic Day reception hosted jointly by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN and the Indian consulate in New York.
However, the US sent one of her top diplomats to the event, which was attended by several hundred Indian Americans, officials of the UN and envoys of scores of countries at the UN.
Prominent among those were the President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak, and the Deputy UN Secretary General Amina J Mohammed.
Maleeha Lodhi, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, surprised many by her presence at India’s Republic Day celebrations at the UN, which was marked by an impressive dance performance at the UN Delegates Dining Room.
“Though far from India’s shores, the young sing about the ‘land that nourished and nurtured’ as we celebrate India’s #Republicday2018@IndiaUNNewYork,” Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said in a tweet.
“We are grateful this evening that several distinguished officials as well as representatives have joined us. I am grateful to the President of the General Assembly who is here with us, also to the Lt Governor of New York, who is with us and the Deputy Secretary General, who is with us,” Akbaruddin said as he was joined by other dignitaries in lighting the lamp.
For many UN observers, it was one of the largest gatherings of ambassadors at a public event at the UN.
Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, paid floral tributes to statues of Mahatma Gandhi outside the Embassy in Washington before unfurling the national flag, in the presence of embassy staff and members of the Indian American community.
Akbaruddin unfurled the national flag at the UN mission in New York, with India’s other diplomatic missions in the US – in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta – also hosting events.
Illinois Lt Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and joined the Republic Day celebrations in Chicago along with a large number of Indian Americans. Officials of the Indian Consulate in Houston posted a special video on twitter “Jai Hind. Happy Republic Day”.
Congressman Pete Olson appeared in a traditional kurta at the Consulate and joined Indian Americans in the Republic day celebrations in the Indian Consulate in Houston.
“Great to celebrate the 69th India Republic Day at the Consulate General of India this morning!” he said.
“#OTD in 1950, the largest democracy on earth was born when the Indian constitution was adopted. I look forward to many more years of friendship between our two great countries!” Olson tweeted.
A number of Republic Day celebrations have been scheduled by Indian Americans across the country over the weekend.
(With inputs from PTI)