Celebrations of Independence Day of India
Celebrations of Independence Day of India
REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR SIBI GEORGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS OF INDIA IN KUWAIT, AUGUST 15, 2022
My fellow citizens, Friends of India,
On the occasion of the 76th Independence Day of India, I extend greetings to all Indians in Kuwait. Let’s join our 1.3 billion brothers and sisters in India and millions of Indian Diaspora abroad and billions of our friends across the world to celebrate this occasion. I particularly congratulate our one million Indian brothers and sisters in Kuwait.
Let me begin by thanking His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of Kuwait and His Highness Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait for hosting our large community in Kuwait.
Today is the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, which we celebrate as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. This Amrit Mahotsav began on 12 March 2021 with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji making the announcement at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram. The launch of celebrations commenced a 75-week countdown to the 75th anniversary of India’s independence which we celebrate today, which will culminate on 15 August, 2023. The five themes of the Amrit Mahotsav are Freedom struggle, Ideas@75, Resolve@75, Actions@75, and Achievements@75. Freedom Struggle theme celebrates the milestone of Indian history and the stories of unsung heroes of our freedom movement, Idea @ 75 commemorates the ideas and ideals that have shaped India, Resolve@ 75 theme focuses on the collective resolve and determination to work for a better future for the country, and Actions @ 75 endeavors highlight the efforts that are being undertaken to help India take its rightful position in the new world order.
As Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji said today, I quote: “This festival is dedicated to the people of India. Based on the success achieved by the people, the resolve to build 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' is also a part of this Mahotsav. Citizens from all age-groups have keenly participated in a series of events held across the country.” Unquote. Our Prime Minister spoke about ‘Amrit Kaal’, next 25 years till we celebrate India at 100, the goal of this period is to ascend to new heights of prosperity for India and the citizens of India. Today morning in his address to the nation Hon’ble Prime Minister set our five commitments for New India during ‘Amrit Kaal’ as it heads towards its Independence Centenary: An India that is developed; an India free of colonial mindset; an India proud of its heritage; an India united and integrated; and an India whose citizens put duty above all.
Here in Kuwait during 2021-22 we have been celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav along with the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Despite the many challenges posed by the devastating COVID 19 pandemic, we celebrated India almost every day in Kuwait. I thank the Kuwaiti leadership for the wholehearted support extended to the Embassy in celebrating the confluence of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
During 2021-22, we witnessed the Indian tricolor flying on the iconic Kuwait Towers for the first time in the history of those towers, not once but twice. You recall the visit of Indian Naval Ship INS TEG which received unprecedented welcome by the Kuwaiti Navy authorities last month. Together with Kuwaiti side, with the support of NCCAL, we organized several cultural events and exhibitions in many of the landmark including the Kuwait National Library, Kuwait National Museum, Yarmouk Cultural Center, Sadu House and Kuwait Art Association premises. You would also recall the International Day of Yoga celebrations, special Cycle Rally, 75 variety of Indian dishes served at the made in India festival, Indian traditional fashion show, Mango festivals, herbal plants exhibition, State facilitation events, 3 Ts campaign and the several Made in India exhibitions that we organized at the Embassy premises and all across Kuwait.
Everything that we did were a mass movement involving our Indian community and our Kuwaiti friends. Today as I speak to you, over a hundred buses are carrying the Indian tricolor all across the streets of Kuwait as part of our 3 Ts campaign. I thank, Kuwait TV, other TV channels and the mainstream print media in Kuwait both Arabic and English who covered our various events and activities almost on a daily basis taking India’s message to every nook and corner of Kuwait and beyond.
Cultural festivals and our people to people connect contributed immensely in also building our relations in other areas too. During 2021-22, we were able to take our bilateral relationship with Kuwait to a high new level of dynamic partnership in both political and economic fields. Despite the many challenges of COVID 19 pandemic, our political engagement and business cooperation continued its upward trajectory. In fact, our cooperation in the fight against COVID 19 pandemic further strengthened our bilateral relationship. You would recall the dispatch of emergency medical team from India to Kuwait and then the supply of 200 thousand doses of Made in India Vaccines to Kuwait. We recall the supply of medical oxygen from Kuwait to India, which made Kuwait the largest supplier of medical oxygen to India. At least some of you would recall the Air - Sea bridge that we set up with 6 naval ships and 4 military aircraft from India ferrying the much-needed medical oxygen from Kuwait to India.
As I complete two years of my stay in Kuwait, I thank the vibrant Indian community in Kuwait, Indian Community Support Group (ICSG), Indian Doctors Forum (IDF), Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), IIT/IIM Alumni and our many professional bodies, cultural groups and associations and the many volunteers and media representatives who joined hands with the Embassy to extend support to those Indians in need during the COVID 19 pandemic and afterwards. Here I should particularly salute and thank our brave frontline healthcare professionals, our doctors and our nurses for their selfless service to the community, which saved many lives during the pandemic.
There is too much to share, starting with Vande Bharat Mission arranging travel of hundreds of thousands to India and later return of those stranded in India back to Kuwait, setting up of an air-bubble which was a daily challenge, vaccination drive, food shortages and medicine distribution drive, supply of air tickets, large number of stretcher cases travelling to India, lunch for all workers who visit the Embassy, free medical checkup, the list is long. Our rapid action team spend several nights at airport regularly to help those who get stranded. Manning 12 WhatsApp helplines lines 24x7 is indeed a major task. Our children were always our priority and it was so gratifying to see them appearing in JEE, NATA, ICAI and NEET examinations for the first time in Kuwait.
I thank my officers and staff in the Embassy who during the last two years gave their full to streamline the consular and community welfare responsibilities of the Mission and made it a real Home away from Home. Let me share this again with you, almost all of my staff in the Embassy got infected with COVID 19 at some point of time, some of them multiple times. I am so happy and proud that my staff and their families were able to face the many challenges served the community with determination and commitment.
Let me conclude by saying this, we will continue to strive towards further strengthening our multifaceted bilateral engagement with Kuwait. We will continue to work towards making Kuwait a partner in our Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign and in our 3 Ts project – Trade, Technology and Tourism. We will continue to celebrate India in Kuwait as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and follow the five commitments of Amrit Kaal set out by our Hon’ble Prime Minister today. We will continue our efforts to further streamline our consular services and do everything possible to ensure the welfare of our community in Kuwait.
Once again, I wish you a Very happy Independence Day and a very happy and successful Amrit Kaal. My best wishes to all.
Thank you. `