India-Germany bonding: Olympic gold, music & dance at German Unity Day

By Poojita C 

On October 3, all roads led to the German embassy to celebrate German Unity Day, the historic day when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, uniting the two halves of Germany to create a single German state. With around 1600 guests in attendance, the National Day celebrations on the manicured lawns of the Embassy were delightfully festive and exuberant, especially as it was the first in-person National Day after a Covid-induced hiatus of nearly three years.

Germany’s Ambassador Philipp Ackermann played the gracious host and shared his passion for India and all things Indian in his welcome speech. “We are thrilled to welcome you all. We are organising a gathering after three years, and even though the pandemic is not over, we are happy that the situation allows us to celebrate together. It is particularly great that we get to celebrate our Unity Day here in India. Indian-German relations have developed wonderfully over the years. One very important factor that makes our partnership solid is the connections between Indians and Germans in all strata of life.”

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Meenkashi Lekhi, guest of honour, struck an optimistic note on the upward trajectory of India-Germany relations.  “It is my honour to be here as we mark the Unification Day of Germany. The two countries, no matter how different we look, we cherish and share the same value system.”

Adding to the magic of the moment was the presence of two Indian sports icons: ace shooter Abhinav Bindra and Neeraj Chopra, the Olympic gold-medallist javelin-thrower. You may ask, what’s common between Bindra and Chopra? They both trained in Germany, and rhapsodised about their experience in Deutschland.  “Germany is called the powerhouse of javelin throw; the top javelin throwers are from Germany. I have learnt a lot from this place, and even I have a coach from Germany. He makes training fun,” said Chopra, who was mobbed by fans itching to take a selfie with him.

Unlike the last in-person celebrations in  2019, there was no rain this time – it was hot, humid and sticky, but this did not prevent revellers to dance to the peppy tunes of the band Antariksha Studio and the DJ Sebastian Barnet. More power to India-Germany relations!

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