by Miceál O’Hurley
His Excellency Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Ambassador of India to Ireland, led his country’s Independence Day celebrations at the Indian Embassy in Dublin on Saturday, 15 August 2020, livestreaming the event to over 12,000 viewers. Ireland boasts approximately 45,000 members of the Indian community living and working across Ireland. The Republic of India officially celebrates Independence Day on 15 August.
Observing social distancing guidelines, including wearing of masks and with plenty of hand sanitizer available for the limited number of attendees, Ambassador Kumar welcomed his country’s men and women and sent good wishes to the more than 45,000 members of the broader Indian community in Ireland.
On 15 August 1947 the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly thus providing India with Independence from Great Britain. On that day, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. In one of history’s most moving orations, known as the Tryst of Destiny Speech, Prime Minister Nehru remarked:
“ Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance…”
– Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
It has been a tradition that on each Independence Day the Prime Minister continues this tradition by raising the flag and giving an oration to the nation.
Ambassador Kumar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1985. His Excellency has served in diverse postings including Croatia, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Paris, Cape Town and Kabul during his almost 35 years of diplomatic service. From September 2008 to January 2013, His Excellency was on deputation to UNDP in Kabul (Afghanistan) where he worked on police reforms. Following this posting, from February 2013 to August 2015, he served as Joint Secretary in the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Division of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. His Excellency Mr. Sandeep Kumar presented his letters of credence extraordinary and plenipotentiary to President Michael D. Higgins as the Ambassador of the Republic of India to Ireland on 6 December 2018.