Thousands throng India Day parade in New York

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New York, Aug 18 (UNI) Tens of thousands of people, mostly Indians, participated in the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA)-sponsored India Day parade here at which Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone participated.

Padukone, who was the grand marshal of the parade held yesterday, saluted the Tricolor and led the parade. Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya was the chief guest.

More than 30 floats representing various Indian states and cultures took part in the parade, described by FIA president Yash Paul Soi as the ''largest India Day parade in New York.'' The New York India parade itself is considered the largest of its kind outside the country.

Mr Soi said the FIA's 28 annual parade, marking the 62nd Independence Day, was dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi's principles of peace and non-violence.

The state of New York proclaimed August 17 as India Independence Day.

Among the dignitaries who sent wishes to the parade was US President George Bush. David Paterson, governor of the state also congratulated the participants, sponsors and volunteers of the parade. Upendra Chivukula, the first first-generation lawmaker in a US state (New Jersey), was present at the parade.

''Over the years the India Day parade has evolved into a well-attended landmark event. It marks the coming together of the Indian community in large numbers. Marching together with fellow Indians, through the streets of Manhattan, strengthens the bonds of togetherness,'' Consul General Neelam Deo said earlier.

Nina Malhotra, press counsellor, represented the Consulate General of India in New York at the parade.

The parade passed through 15 blocks in Manhattan and the entire event lasted about six hours during which delicious food representing various regions of India was also relished by the participants.

''I thoroughly enjoyed the parade getting wonderful support and encouragement from all of you,'' Padukone told the ecstatic crowd as the parade wound its way.

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