Hindu Council UK’s Chairman-Umesh C Sharma JP, Director of Interfaith Relations-Anil Bhanot OBE, Director of Hindu Temple Engagement-Arun Thakur and Director of Business Affairs-Davinder (Gulu) Anand represented the Hindu Council UK at the prestigious India Republic Day Reception held at The Ballroom, Grosvenor House JW Marriott Hotel, Park Lane, London, to mark the 68th India’s Republic Day on 26th January 2017, hosted by the High Commissioner of India in London-His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha and Mrs Girija Sinha.
The event was attended by more than 1000 eminent personalities from all fields, including senior representatives from other Embassies/High Commissions, UK Government and international organisations. The event included cultural performances representing different states of India.
At the reception, The Indian High Commissioner announced that Queen Elizabeth II will host a special reception at Buckingham Palace to kick start the ‘UK-India Year of Culture’ celebrations in Britain.
In his address at the annual Republic Day event in London, Indian High Commissioner-Y.K Sinha said a number of events are being planned to mark the momentous year. “We are very happy that 2017 is the “year of Indian culture” in the UK. It is also the year India marks 70 years of Independence. They both go hand in hand this year as we celebrate this momentous occasion and we are very honoured by Her Majesty’s decision to start off the year with a reception at Buckingham Palace. The reception is expected to take place towards the end of February, with a formal date announcement expected in a few weeks. The India-UK relationship has never looked better. It has stepped up to a level which is truly exciting, truly encouraging. This year’s agenda in particular looks very challenging and very exciting”.
Describing the bilateral trade in goods last year of $ 14 billion and another $ 5.3 billion in services as just the “tip of the iceberg”, the High Commissioner added: “With the United Kingdom exiting the European Union, I think the time has come for India and UK to again re-engage to strengthen our economic engagement.”
Nick Hurd, UK Minister for climate change, was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Nick Hurd welcomed Mr Sinha’s appointment as Indian High Commissioner to the UK, as a diplomat of seniority and experience. He said “Republic Day marks a momentous turning point in India’s history and today we commemorate the thriving democracy it is. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing ties between our governments. At the heart of this relationship is our people to people ties or to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phrase, the ‘living bridge’ that connects our two countries. The Indian diaspora plays a crucial role in deepening UK-India links. We are committed to harnessing our natural ties and making this an enduring partnership”.
Chairman of Hindu Council UK Umesh Sharma said “It was a truly vibrant evening with great networking and entertainment of traditional Indian music. The new High Commissioner focused upon the development of the original India Constitution. A key point was the huge potential for India in having a young, entrepreneurial population to the future development of the country. During the reception we had the opportunity of speaking with the High Commissioner, Deputy High Commissioner-Dinesh K Patnaik, Minister of Coordination-A.S Rajan, and First Secretary/Head of Chancery & Protocol-Sunil Kumar and other representatives of India House and we look forward to working with them on various events this year and also engaging the wider Indian diaspora on issues that are affecting them. The Indian High Commission has asked us to organise a meeting shortly to progress this further with the Indian High Commission team”.
* Photographs courtesy of High Commission of India in London.
– Sanjay Jagatia
Hindu Council UK
Source: World Hindu News (WHN)