India’s 75th Republic Day celebrated in the UK with grandeur

Rupanjana Dutta Monday 29th January 2024 08:36 EST

The Indian High Commission in the UK celebrated India’s 75th Republic Day in a grand scale on Friday 26 January in London. In the morning there was a flag hoisting ceremony outside India House at Aldwych which was attended by Bollywood actor Boman Irani along with 300 people from the diaspora. 

In the evening a lavish reception was hosted at Guild Hall in the City which saw presence of around 600 guests, mostly from the diaspora. In attendance was Peers, MPs and Councillors as well as celebrities such as Hapreet Kaur Chandi MBE, more popularly known as Polar Preet (a British physiotherapist and His Majesty's Army medical officer who completed a solo expedition across Antartica to the South Pole) as well as Bollywood actor Boman Irani. 

The High Commissioner of India, HE Vikram Doraiswami addressing the audience took them through a recap of India’s growth since the republic was born in 1950s up to all the recent bilateral visits including by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to G20 in Delhi and that of Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the UK. He also paid a special homage to the Britain’s Indian community for being the living bridge between UK and India. 

After a short video showcased from the Republic day parade in New Delhi on Friday morning, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk KC MP who was the Chief Guest, enthusiastically spoke about his teaching years in India. 

He said, “So many memories of my experiences working as a teacher that three to five years ago, which continued to influence me today. But what stays with me principally is the warmth, the generosity, and the sheer energy of the people I've met and spent time with, in India, as well as I should say, their enthusiasm for a celebration and what a delight it was to see just now the celebrations of the parade in New Delhi...” 

Elaborating on the importance of India as a Republic, he said, “India's potential really is out of this world. Republic Day is a moment to recognise those who contributed and continue to contribute to those times. It's a moment to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and diversity that makes India greater than the sum of its parts. But perhaps most importantly, it is a moment to celebrate the principles that underpin your success, sovereignty, justice, liberty, democracy, as set out in your constitution, which came into effect on this day several years ago. I am reliably informed that it is the most expansive written national constitution in the world, and that somehow fields fit in the world's largest democracy.”

The Minister went on to say, “Just a few months ago, I had the opportunity to address the Bar Council of India conference in Devon. And there I spoke about those things that bind our two nations together the living bridge between us. It was an honour to meet distinguished attendees, including the Honourable Prime Minister Modi, the Minister for Law and Justice and the Chief Justice of India, and to hear from prominent members of the Indian legal fraternity on the importance of international collaboration. As Justice Secretary (and up recently a barrister), I work with the growing legal links between our two nations. 1000s of Indian lawyers already make an enormous contribution to the UK legal sector. Ours is the second largest legal sector in the world, Indian lawyers are making a vital contribution. They are part and parcel of our success, and I look forward to strengthening those links in future working together as India forges a global outward facing legal services sector…

“We have great partnerships in renewables, green hydrogen, as well as a new UK India pensions and insurance partnership. And that's before one goes on to consider the military in relationship as well. And our relationship grows ever stronger under the UK, India 2030 roadmap with negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will I hope soon create even more new exciting trade and investment opportunities for the United Kingdom and India…”

Cultural programmes followed by dinner concluded the evening. 

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