Abu Dhabi, Jan 26: In the wake of the raging coronavirus pandemic, India's 72nd Republic Day celebrations in the country's missions across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday took place in a virtual format for the first time ever.

The celebrations kick-started at the Indian Consulate in Dubai with only the officials in attendance, Gulf News reported.

The event was livestreamed.

The Tricolour at the Consulate was unfurled by the Consul General Aman Puri in the presence of visiting Indian Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale and employees of the mission. Republic Day 2021 Chief Guest Invitee And UK PM Boris Johnson, Who Cancelled Visit to India Amid New Strain of COVID-19, Greets India on R-Day.

At the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the flag was unfurled by Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor.

In an exclusive video message to Gulf News on Monday, Puri extended greetings to all Indians, Emiratis and people of around 200 nationalities who call the UAE their second home.

"I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the UAE leadership for the vision, compassion and care extended to the very large Indian community of almost 3.3million in the UAE.

"We are all privileged to be here in the UAE which is a shining example in the world in terms of handling the Covid-19 pandemic, including one of the most successful vaccination programmes in the world with almost one sixth of the population already (standing) vaccinated and it is estimated that by the end of March, 50 per cent of the population would have received the vaccine," he added.

He added that the Consulate was always working towards reaching out and becoming more accessible to members of the Indian community.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 26, 2021 02:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).