Indian Consulate General celebrates 77th Independence Day of India, honours Indian Armed Forces veterans in Edmonton

(L-R) MLA Jasvir Deol, Indian Consul General Manish, and MLAs Christina Gray, Nathan Ip, Rakhi Pancholi and Shane Getson. Photos submitted
Consul General Manish and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.

AS part of the culmination of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, the Consulate General of India in Vancouver celebrated the 77th Independence Day of India and organized the “Varishth Yoddha” event to honour and felicitate veterans of Indian Armed Forces on August 20 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Alberta Province is home to hundreds of veterans who have served in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. The objective of the event was to recognize the veterans over 75 years of age for their service to India. The event was attended by over 350 guests, which included 34 veterans.

Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of the City of Edmonton, and Shane Getson, MLA and Chief Whip of the Government of Alberta, were the guests of honour. Alberta MLAs Jasvir Deol, Rakhi Pancholi, Nathan Ip, and Christina Gray, and City Councillors were also in attendance. In addition, leaders of various Indian diaspora associations in Edmonton and Calgary, leaders of the business community, members of the Indian diaspora, friends of India, Indian Armed Forces veterans and media attended.

All the veterans were felicitated with plaques and shawls by Indian Consul General Manish. In his address, Manish highlighted the contribution of the Armed Forces veterans in preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; the various initiatives of the Government of India for armed forces veterans; the Indian Government initiative to engage with diaspora across the global; India’s achievements in various sectors; the forthcoming G-20 Summit; and commonalities between Indian and Canadian societies.

Manish thanked the Indian diaspora for their significant contribution to both India and Canada and acting as a to bridge between the two countries. He requested their partnership in India’s growth story and encouraged them to actively participate and contribute as India begins its journey in “Amrit Kaal”.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi addressed the audience on behalf of the City of Edmonton. He paid tribute to the ex-servicemen, thanked the Consulate and Government of India’s initiative to recognize the contribution of Indian veterans living abroad. He remembered the earlier settlers from India who came to Canada and lauded the role of the Indo-Canadian community working with each other and contributing to the prosperity of Edmonton.

Shen Getson, MLA and Chief Whip, addressed the audience on behalf of the Government of Alberta. While congratulating the Consulate for organizing the event, he spoke about the role of Indian diaspora in the democratic societies of India and Canada and reaffirmed to work together to achieve common goals towards progress and prosperity of both the countries

MLAs Jasvir Deol and Rakhi Pancholi in their addresses congratulated India and the Indian diaspora on the 77th Independence Day and appreciated the efforts of the Consulate for organizing the event, the first of its kind in Edmonton, to recognize the contribution of Indian Armed Forces veterans to set an example for the next generation. They also highlighted the role of Indo-Canadian community in the progress of Canada.

Balbir Singh Kullar, President of Millwood Culture Society of Retired and Semi Retired, dwelt on the contribution of veterans in India’s freedom struggle and appreciated the Consulate for coming and supporting the veterans residing in the Edmonton area.

A colourful and energetic cultural programme showcasing the richness of India’s cultural heritage was also organized with the participation of local diaspora dance groups.
This was the first such program organized in the city of Edmonton and was received with a lot of enthusiasm by every one.

This was the third “Varishth Yoddha” event organized by the Consulate to celebrate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The first “Varishth Yoddha” event was organized in Vancouver on October 31, 2021, and the second “Varishth Yoddha” event was organized on September 22, 2022 in Calgary.