India’s vibrant Republic Day celebration – with music, dance and, of course, curry – was the first in London for the newly-arrived High Commissioner Mr Yashvardhan Sinha – and it was a taste of things to come. Marking the 70th anniversary of the world’s largest democracy’s independence, 2017 will be the Year of Indian Culture in the UK, which will start with a reception at Buckingham Palace.
Addressing the 1000 guests, including parliamentarians, diplomats and captains of industry, High Commissioner Singh said the India-UK relationship had “never looked better”. The whopping US$19.3 billion in bilateral trade was the “tip of the iceberg”, he said, adding: “With the UK exiting the EU, the time has come for India and UK to again re-engage.”
The Guest of Honour, Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd MP, paid special tribute to the Indian diaspora, borrowing a phrase from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they were a “living bridge” connecting the two nations.
PHOTOS: PIERRE DE VILLIERS