Addis Ababa, Jan 23 (IANS) The Indian community in Ethiopia celebrated India's 65th Republic Day at a special function here.
The function Tuesday at the Hilton International Hotel in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa saw members of the Indian community dressed up in their finest traditional attire participating.
They were joined by Debretsion Gebremichale, deputy prime minister of Ethiopia, Berhane Gebre-Christos, permanent representative of Ethiopia to the European Union (EU) and other officials and diplomats.
India's Ambassador to Ethiopia Sanjay Verma, while addressing the gathering, said that after almost two hundred years of British rule all patriotic hearts rejoiced at seeing India becoming a sovereign nation and the triumph of hundreds and thousands of martyred souls.
"It was the birth of a new nation and a new beginning for a diverse country like India which celebrates three national days: the birthday of Mahatama Gandhi, Independence Day and Republic Day," he said.
According to Verma, the relationship between India and Ethiopia is not only historical but also civilisational. The two nations have more similarities than dissimilarities and that has held them together and will continue to do so.
"Our relationship, people to people, I believe in recent years is strongly based on mutual respect. We have drawn significant and meaningful lessons and experiences from each other and we have benefited greatly," he said.
Despite what it went through, India is the world's biggest democracy now with its economy showing a potential growth, according to Gebre-Christos.
"It is a strong multi-ethnic culture we can draw many lessons from and create our own diversities. We can also learn from their progress in fighting poverty, their extraordinary advancement in ICT and other areas", he said.
"In my own area of expertise, foreign affairs, our relationship is not only limited to bilateral matters alone but also India's foreign policy is strongly aligned to the principles of Non Aligned Movement and to South-South cooperation", he added.
According to Gebre-Christos, Ethiopia and India "cooperate closely on regional issues and work together to contribute peace and stability in other parts of the world and the sub-regions in the Horn of Africa".
Ethiopia sees India as a strategic partner. It is the first African country to set up diplomatic ties with India and see the relationship growing in areas like trade, investment and development.
Today, India provides the second largest investment in Ethiopia and Indian companies are involved in manufacturing, agriculture, agro-processing and mining.
Tuesday's function started with the rendering of the national anthems of India and Ethiopia, followed by screening of documentaries showing various sites, culture, tradition, music and several other aspects that represent India.
(Hadra Ahmed can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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