To commemorate the 63rd Republic Day of India, two functions were organised by the High Commission of India, London on 26 January 2012. In a ceremony held at the India House in the morning, the Acting High Commissioner, Ambassador Rajesh N. Prasad unfurled the National Flag. It was followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the telecast of the address to the Nation, delivered on the eve of the Republic Day, by the Hon’ble President of India Her Excellency Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil. The function was attended by the officers and members of staff of the High Commission along with their family members.
In the evening, a Reception was hosted by the Acting High Commissioner which was attended by more than 600 guests. These comprised senior functionaries of the government, Lords, Ladies and Members of Parliament, Mayors, Councillors, several Ambassadors, academia, Captains of business and industry, and prominent members of the Indian Diaspora. Dignitaries who graced the function included Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles; Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Rt. Hon. Peter Luff; Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on India Rt. Hon. Virendra Sharma MP; Chair of the Labour Friends of India Rt. Hon. Barry Gardiner MP; Chair of the Conservative Friends of India Rt. Hon. Stephen Hammond MP; and Chair of the Liberal Democratic Friends of India Lord Navnit Dholakia.
Secretary Eric Pickles, Minister Peter Luff and the Acting High Commissioner Ambassador Prasad spoke on the occasion. The Acting High Commissioner warmly welcomed the guests. Speaking at the reception, Ambassador Prasad said: "India-UK bilateral relations continue to be strong, broad-based and robust. Trade between the two countries has increased, despite the worsening global economic situation." India is the 3rd largest investor in the UK. The relationship is growing stronger by the day.
Secretary Pickles paid glowing tributes to India being a great democracy and to the very many accomplishments of the Indian Republic. He recalled the wide ranging bonds at the popular level between peoples of the two nations which play a vital role in the growth and consolidation of the Partnership. He said that he is proud to be a friend and supporter of India.
Minister Peter Luff described the present state of the bilateral relations as the best saying “UK-India relations have never been better”. He said that UK and India are cooperating including in the cutting edge areas of defence technology, sharing that an Agreement (Letter of Arrangement) was signed in this regard recently. He added that he would be visiting India this year and looks forward to the visit greatly.