BEIJING/MELBOURNE: Soaked in patriotism, hundreds of Indians abroad today marked the country's 71st Independence Day with the tricolour fluttering high and the national anthem reverberating at Indian missions across the world.
Indians in countries like the US, China, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Egypt, Israel and South Africa celebrated the day with hoisting of the national flag and singing of patriotic songs.
A large number of Indian expats attended the Independence Day celebrations at the embassy in Beijing with Indian envoy Vijay Gokhale reading the address of President Ram Nath Kovind. He met the Indian diaspora at a reception held in the embassy.
In Shanghai, Indian Consul General Prakash Gupta hoisted the national flag. A large number of Indian expats, besides Tarun Vijay, President of the India China Parliamentary Group, who is on a visit attended the celebrations.
In Guangzhou, Indian Consul General Y K Sailas Thangal hoisted the tricolour. Over 150 Indian professionals and businessmen settled in the southern Chinese city attended the reception held on the occasion at the Consulate.
In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today extended his wishes by calling it a day that commemorates "the achievement of sovereignty and freedom for the world's largest democracy" as the Indian diaspora celebrated the special occasion by attending flag hoisting ceremonies held at Indian High Commission and consulates across the country.
Turnbull said it is an occasion to take pride in India's progress over seven decades of independence, and to share in hopes for its future.
He said the ties between the two countries have become stronger and that the governments are working closely to support shared interests in a stable and prosperous Indo- Pacific region.
"The Indian community in Australia is an important part of our strong and enduring ties, helping to build even closer bonds between our nations,' he said adding that two-way trade exceeded 20 billion dollars in 2016, and shows great potential for further growth," he said.
"With these thoughts in mind, I hope the Indian community in Australia enjoys wonderful Independence Day celebrations, and finds their sense of affection and esteem for India renewed," he said.
Canberra based Indian High commission as well as consulates in Melbourne, Sydney and other cities also held flag hoisting ceremonies attended by a several members of Indian communities.
Several Indian community organisations are also holding dinners and special events to acknowledge the occasion.
On Saturday, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was a special guest of the Indian Film festival of Melbourne (IFFM) this year, unfurled the tricolour to celebrate the day.
Indians in Japan also celebrated the 71st Independence Day with great enthusiasm.
A large gathering of about 600 people, including the growing Indian community in Tokyo, celebrated the day.
Indian Ambassador to Japan Sujan R Chinoy unfurled the national flag, which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
The envoy also addressed the gathering and read out the Kovind's address. Students of Indian International School in Japan (IISJ), Tokyo and Global Indian International School (GIIS) sang patriotic songs. The programme was followed by refreshments.
Three local newspapers, Japan Times, Japan News and Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun carried the message of Ambassador Chinoy on the occasion along with congratulatory messages from Japanese dignitaries.
An 'Incredible India' photo contest organised by the Indian embassy in Japan in association with India Tourism Office and Air India was launched to mark the celebrations.
In Singapore, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf along with 700 Indians celebrated the Independence Day.
Students from Indian schools in Singapore sang patriotic songs and performed cultural dances at the High Commission.
In the UK, hundreds of members of the Indian diaspora took part in the first-ever Freedom Run to mark the Independence Day with the one-mile journey beginning from the historic Parliament Square here.
In Egypt, India's Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya hoisted the country's flag to mark day at the India House in Zamalek.
The celebration was attended by members of Indian community in Egypt as well some Egyptian friends of India and students of language the The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC).
After hoisting the flag, and the attendees sang the national anthem, Bhattacharyya also read out the message of Kovind.
In Israel, around 250 Indians from all over the country assembled in this northern coastal town to celebrate Independence Day in a year when the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries has seen a flurry of activities.
Ambassador Pavan Kapoor hoisted the national flag with some of the enthusiastic participants from the Indian Jewish community raising slogans of "Bharat Mata ki Jai".
Kapoor thanked the Indian community for joining the celebrations and also expressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's deep appreciation for their participation in large numbers in the July 5th event last month when the Indian Premier addressed them during his three day visit to Israel.
Noah Massil, a founder member and former President of Central Organisation of Indian Jews in Israel (COIJI), told PTI that Modi's visit has "instilled a fresh sense of pride" among the Indian Jewish community.
"We are now going to launch the World Organisation of Indian Jews in Mumbai at an event on January 14th next year with participation of members of the community from all over the world", Massil said.
"Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has won the hearts of all of us by announcing that Indian Jews who have done mandatory army service only are entitled to OCI and also his initiative to set up an Indian cultural centre in Israel", he added.
Women members of the Indian mission staff sang Vande Matram during the event.
India's Independence Day was celebrated across South Africa with gatherings in all major cities.
Large numbers of expatriates and locals of all communities watched the hoisting of the flag at the Indian missions in Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg before hearing the message from President Kovind.
In his maiden address to the nation on the eve of 71st Independence Day, Kovind remembered the role of leaders of Independence struggle, including Jawaharlal Nehru.
Kovind pitched for a partnership between citizens and the government to create a new India by 2022 that is a "compassionate society" and includes the "humanist component integral to the nation's DNA".
The special relationship between South Africa and India was highlighted by an unprecedented lighting up of several Gandhian heritage sites in the colours of the Indian flag on the eve of the Independence Day.
"In compliance with a request from the Indian government, we approached the owners of some historic sites to do this and they welcomed it enthusiastically," Consul General in Johannesburg Dr K J Srinivasa told PTI.
The three sites that attracted hundreds of onlookers overnight were Constitutional Hill and Satyagraha House in Johannesburg; and the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, where Gandhi started his path as a champion of anti-discrimination after being thrown off a train because he was in a compartment reserved for whites only.
Consul General in Durban Dr Shashank Vikram said the government authorities in Pietermaritzburg were just as excited about the project.
Constitutional Hill, home to the Constitutional Court, South Africa's highest judiciary body, was built on the site of the Old Fort prison where Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned during his tenure in Johanensburg at the turn of the last century.
In the UAE, hundreds of Indian expats gathered at their country's missions to celebrate, Gulf News reported.
Patriotic Indians chanted slogans praising their motherland before the Indian flag was hoisted at the premises of the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
In the US, Indian-Americans celebrated the event by unfurling the national flag and holding cultural extravaganza.
Americans joined Indians and people of Indian-origin in various cities by rendering India's national anthem, cultural performances and short speeches on India-US relationship.
Despite heavy downpour, a large number of Indian- Americans turned up for the traditional flag-hoisting ceremony at the official residence of India's Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna who unfurled the tricolour.
Thereafter Sarna addressed the guests and read out President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation.
A brief cultural programme involving rendition of patriotic songs by school children in the US was also organised to mark the occasion.
Several US lawmakers joined Indian-Americans in celebrating the Independence Day.
"Celebrated the 70th Independence Day of India in Henderson over the weekend!" tweeted Congresswoman Jacky Rosen from Las Vegas, Nevada.
"Happy Independence Day to our ally and partner, India. Congratulations to the largest democracy from the oldest democracy," said Congressman Ted Poe.
Congressman Billy Long retweeted the tweet of Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) in which he greeted Modi on the occasion of Independence Day.
"Today we celebrate 70 years of independence for India! Happy," tweeted Congressman Pete Olson.
"Beautiful celebration of India's Independence at Sate House. Delicious food and great music. So lucky to live in state that values diversity!" tweeted Congressman David Cicilline from Rhode Island along with pictures after he attended an Independence Day event with Indian-Americans at the State House.
"Big crowd for India Day Parade in Edison and Woodbridge," tweeted Congressman Frank Pallone after he attended the India Day parade in New Jersey which was attended by hundreds of Indian-Americans.
Congressman Ruben J Kihuen said he had wonderful time celebrating India's Independence Day with friends of India.
"Our Indian neighbours have contributed so much to Nevada Congressional District Four," he tweeted along with pictures.
"Celebrating Indian Independence Day with" Indian- American Coalition of Texas, said Congressman Lloyd Doggett.
"US and India show that diversity is a strength, not detriment, to vibrant democracies," he added.
Congresswoman Grace Meng wrote it was great to march in the India Day parade down Hillside Avenue in Queens, New York.
Hundreds of Indian-Americans converged at the Consulate General of India in Houston where Consul General Dr Anupam Ray unfurled the tricolour and read President of India Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation.
As part of Texas-wide celebrations, Deputy Consul General Surendra Adhana led a colourful parade in Dallas.