As India marked its 74th Independence Day on Saturday, the Indian embassy in Doha held a special flag-hoisting ceremony marked by patriotic fervour in the presence of a limited number of community leaders and embassy officials.

Attendance was limited to selected guests due to the regulations put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19 and the programme conducted by strictly observing the relevant protocols and guidelines. However, the event was live-streamed on the embassy's social media platforms so as to reach out to the wider community, which is estimated to have more than 700,000 members.

Indian ambassador Dr Deepak Mittal unfurled the Indian flag on the embassy premises, followed by the national anthem. He also read out the Independence Day message from Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on the occasion.

Later the envoy, paid floral tributes to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, and planted a sapling on the premises along with the heads of the apex bodies of community organisations working under the aegis of the embassy as well as other attendees at the event.

In his message, the Indian president underscored the sacrifices of freedom fighters and recalled the efforts of the country to become a thriving and progressive, modern nation.

“The ethos of our freedom struggle forms the foundation of modern India. Our visionary leaders brought together a diversity of world views to forge a common national spirit. They were committed to the cause of liberating Bharat Mata from oppressive foreign rule and securing the future of her children. Their thoughts and actions shaped the identity of India as a modern nation,” the president said in the message.

He also highlighted the efforts of the healthcare workers who have been fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and praised their selfless service.

“The nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously at the forefront of our fight against this virus. Unfortunately, many of them have lost their lives battling the pandemic. They are our national heroes. All 'corona warriors' deserve high praise. They go much beyond their call of duty to save lives and ensure essential services. These doctors, health workers, members of disaster management teams, police personnel, sanitation workers, delivery staff, transportation, railway and aviation personnel, providers of various services, government employees, social service organisations and generous citizens have been scripting inspiring stories of courage and selfless service,” he pointed out.

The Indian envoy, while addressing the gathering, spoke at length about the deep-rooted relations between Qatar and India and the support of the Government of Qatar towards the Indian community, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and with regard to the Vande Bharat Mission.

“The Government of Qatar has always been supportive of the community all through these years and especially during this pandemic. With this great support, we have been able to facilitate the return of a large number of Indians, who were stranded in Qatar, to their native places. It was not a small task but a very difficult one, but was carried out successfully,” he highlighted.

The event ended with the presentation of patriotic songs and a cultural programme by the students of Indian schools.

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