Indians in the Gulf region marked Independence Day on Wednesday with flag-hoisting ceremonies and cultural celebrations.
Some 3.5 million Indians live in the six Gulf countries - the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
In the UAE, Indian Ambassador K C Singh hoisted the tricolour at the embassy residence in Abu Dhabi.
It was attended by about 300 non-resident Indians, including businessmen and students.
Student of the Abu Dhabi Indian School sang the national anthem and students of other schools rendered patriotic songs.
In his address, Singh said NRIs had always been pillars of support and should continue to offer moral and economic support to India.
Referring to Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani's meeting with UAE President
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, he said the meeting had put the relationship between the two countries on a higher plane.
He said Indo-UAE cooperation, particularly in the economic field, would be stepped up in the coming year.
Singh also hoisted the national flag at the India Social Centre at a well-attended ceremony. The Indian Associations in Al Ain, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Kalha, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain also held similar functions.
In Dubai, Consul General Asoke Mukerji hoisted the Indian flag. The Indian consulate is holding weeklong celebrations.
Earlier this week, violin maestro Johar Ali and tabla player Asif Ali performed at the Indian Consulate Auditorium.
To mark the occasion, English newspapers in the Gulf, especially in the UAE, brought out special supplements that focused on the economic reforms in India.
Indo-Asian News Service
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