VIDEO: India Independence Day celebration a low-key affair in UAE amid COVID-19 - GulfToday

VIDEO: India Independence Day celebration a low-key affair in UAE amid COVID-19


A woman dressed in a traditional Kashmiri attire dances during a ceremony to celebrate India's 74th Independence Day in Srinagar on Saturday. AFP

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

The 74th Independence Day of India was celebrated in the UAE on Saturday.

Main programmes were held at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and at the Consulate General of India in Dubai. However, the celebration remained a muted affair as the occasion was marked with a limited number of attendees due to the social distancing norms.

Ambassador of India to the UAE Pavan Kapoor unfurled the Tricolour in presence of the officers and staff of the mission at the Embassy.  Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri hoisted the national flag at the Consulate General of India in Dubai.

Live webcast from both the locations was shared on the missions’ social media platforms enabling everyone to join the celebrations of 74th Independence Day of India.

Following the flag hoisting, Ambassador Pavan Kapoor along with the Embassy staff, observed a minute’s silence in the memory of the victims of Air India Express flight from Dubai that crashed in Kozhikode on Aug 7.

In his remark, the Ambassador appreciated the embassy staff, leaders of the Indian community organisations as well as the community members for playing an important role in dealing with the situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and for their efforts in conducting the Vande Bharat Mission successfully.

"When we started the repatriation programme on May 7, it was a gigantic task. When we needed the help of the community, volunteers came forward and helped identify the most needy to go to India. I also thank the UAE government and the health authorities for their support in making this successful.”

"As of date we have sent 325,000 Indians back in just over three months. Now we are at a stage where we have got an air bubble with the UAE and air tickets can be booked by anyone who is willing to go to India,” he added.

He noted that the engagement with the UAE authorities ensured that 25,000 UAE residents stuck in India returned to the UAE between July 12 and July 25.

He said, "As the two-way traffic has opened up, many more Indians with valid visas for the UAE can come back. It signals that we are moving to a stage of slightly greater normalcy.”

India-Abu-Dhabi-750Pavan Kapoor unfurled the Tricolour in presence of the officers and staff in Abu Dhabi.

Kapoor also highlighted the UAE-India coordination in relief measures and the health sector amid the pandemic. "We coordinated and cooperated very well with the UAE government during the pandemic. We sent them medicines and almost 400 health workers and doctors. We also got help from them in the form of masks, PPEs and medical assistance. So we have kept this interaction going through cooperation in the health sector.”

Speaking about the bilateral engagement, the Ambassador said that leaders of the two countries are in touch with each other.

He said, "There is a very active bilateral engagement this week. On Monday, the two foreign ministers will be having a formal meeting. We are hopefully going to see some exchange in the sporting sector with the IPL coming to the UAE. So we are looking at new ways in which we can cooperate with the UAE as we take along our bilateral agenda.”

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General of India in Dubai Dr. Aman Puri said that the UAE and India are strong partners. The partnership was evident in the times of unprecedented crisis. He extended gratitude to the UAE leadership and the authorities for supporting the Government of India’s effort in repatriation of stranded nationals.

Puri said, "We share a common view on almost all issues of regional and international concern. This is now more evident in the present Covid-19 times where both India and UAE leadership are committed to address the post-Covid challenges and new normals, which is very much evident across the world. These new realities have changed the dynamics of human behaviour and also changed the way we interact, trade or work.”

He also expressed hope that the Indian community in the UAE will continue to play significant and strong roles in improving India-UAE relationship and continues to be strength for India in every way.

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