This year's celebrations began with Ambassador of India Kumar Tuhin hoisting the Indian tricolour flag at the District II embassy premises in the morning and the singing of the national anthem, "Jana Gana Mana", by all present.

Ambassador Tuhin then read the address to the nation by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, which was followed by a cultural programme by the members of the Indian community and the artists from the Amrita Shergil Cultural Centre.

The programme was organised with enthusiasm and gaiety and a large number of Indian community members in Hungary attended, including many who had travelled from outside of Budapest.

In the evening, a reception was held at the Hungarian Heritage House in District I, attended by senior Hungarian officials from different ministries and institutions, ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps, the Indian diaspora and media representatives.

Ambassador Tuhin told the gathering about recent developments in bilateral relations between India and Hungary, especially highlighting the recent visits of ministers of external affairs and water resources to Hungary and the visit of Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, to India.

The ambassador said these visits had further expanded the foundation for cooperation between the two countries. Bilateral trade and investment ties were healthy and some Indian companies had made large investments in Hungary during the last few years. (Hungarian government figures are that Indian companies have invested more than USD2 billion in the country, giving employment to around 10,000 Hungarians.)

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Also, during the last year, the Embassy of India had organised a series of activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as well as the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, struggler for independence and espouser of non-violence, born on October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Gujarat State.

These activities had further consolidated people-to-people ties, Ambassador Tuhin said.

The celebration concluded with a cultural programme by Indian and Hungarian artists showcasing a colourful fusion of different rhythms, melodies and dance forms from India, as well as yoga and an on-the-spot painting on canvas of the national flowers of India and Hungary, the lotus and tulip, respectively.


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