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Indians celebrate I-Day across the world

world Updated: Aug 15, 2008 21:33 IST
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From NASDAQ in New York to Olympics host city Beijing, patriotic fervour gripped Indians on Friday with the tricolour being unfurled in countries across the world and international leaders extending greetings on India's 62nd Independence Day.

Lauding India's path to independence as a "great story of liberty overcoming oppression", US President George W Bush said that the occasion reminds of the "close ties" his country shares with India and the rich contributions made by the Indian-American community.

"Led by Mahatma Gandhi the Indian people engaged in non-violent protests and campaigns in the pursuit of freedom .... This accomplishment demonstrates that though freedom can be delayed, it cannot be denied," Bush said in a statement.

In New York, the Indian tricolour fluttered in the backdrop as the country's consul general as Neelam Deo rung the closing bell at the world's largest stock exchange NASDAQ.

This was the first time that a consul general has rung the closing bell at the stock market, marking the recognition of a fast growing Indian economy.

Outside the exchange, the huge electronic board, which overlooks the historic Times Square, was lighted in saffron, white and green, with the words "India Independence Day".

NASDAQ lists six Indian companies with a combined market cap of almost $35 billion. Infosys and Cognizant are members of the NASDAQ 100 Index, which is one of the most prestigious and widely followed indices in the world.

In Beijing, Indians celebrated the day with Ambassador Nirupama Rao hoisting the tricolour at the embassy where members of the Indian Olympic contingent were also present.

"This was the second time that the Indian flag was hoisted in Beijing the first came when Abhinav Bindra won the gold," Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi said, urging youngsters to take up Olympic sports.