THE Indian high commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar hailed the “loving bridge” maintained by global Indians as she led Indian Independence Day celebrations in London on Saturday (14).
Her message, which reflected on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to the Indian diaspora as a “living bridge”, highlighted the vital roles played by the British Indian community as well as the High Commission in London during the pandemic.
“Our countrymen and women threw open their doors and hearts to help students and others during the lockdown. This is the spirit of our diaspora, not only a living bridge, but also a loving one,” said Kumar.
“The High Commission of India complemented the selfless efforts of our diaspora and worked day and night to help more than 28,000 stranded Indians reach their homes in India and bring back over 14,000 British citizens. We continue our efforts to help the remaining numbers.”
The envoy, who took charge as the Indian envoy to the UK recently, went on to lead the Independence Day celebrations with a flag hoisting ceremony at India House, broadcast live via Facebook given the Covid-19 restrictions.
She delivered the address of the Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, at an event attended by a small group of High Commission diplomats and officials.
“This year, we shall have to be careful, follow local regulations and avoid unnecessary social contacts or large gatherings. Our first priority is to be responsible citizens and protect ourselves and our families from any untoward situation,” said Kumar.
“I, therefore, request you all to do everything you can to keep good health and a high morale. In fact, I strongly encourage you to adopt the fitness strategy launched by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the UK (Boris Johnson) on a Hero cycle made in India.”
The virtually telecast celebrations included congratulatory video messages from the UK government, delivered by Lord Tariq Ahmad, the minister for South Asia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as from prominent members of the Indian community in the UK including Lord Swraj Paul, Lord Rami Ranger and Lord Karan Bilimoria, and Baroness Usha Prashar, the chair of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) UK Council.