During an event held as part of the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a government-led campaign to celebrate 75 years of independence, the Consulate General of India in Vancouver honoured veterans of the Indian armed forces in the cosmopolitan city of Calgary in Canada’s Alberta province. The ‘Varishth Yoddha’ event was organised to honour armed forces veterans over the age of 75 for their service.
Hundreds of veterans from the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force live in Alberta Province. Over 300 people attended the event, including 106 veterans and Acting High Commissioner of India to Canada Manish, among others. The event’s chief guest was Prasad Panda, Minister of Transportation for the Government of Alberta.
The honorees included Indian Canadian lawmakers and officials such as Leela Sharon Aheer, Rajan Sawhney, Devinder Toor, and Jyoti Gondek. Leaders of Indian community associations, Ex-Servicemen Association members, and ethnic media representatives.
“It is matter of pride for us to honour the veterans, who have served with dedication and distinction in the Indian Armed Forces and have made immense contribution in safeguarding India’s freedom and territorial integrity. As we celebrate 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence this year, it is befitting that we recognize their selfless service to the nation. We salute them for their patriotism,” Acting High Commissioner said in his opening remarks.
Speaking a the event, Prasad Panda said, “I am extremely proud of the bravery and selfless commitment of these Indian Armed Forces veterans who have served India since Independence in 1947. These fine ex-servicemen have not only protected India’s borders during some serious conflicts and wars, they have also been dependable partners in peacekeeping missions around the world. I feel blessed that they have chosen to live here in Calgary and appreciate their contribution to our community.”
Jyoti Gondek, the mayor of Calgary, remembered the sacrifice of ex-servicemen and their families in securing India’s borders and now the development of Canada. A brief cultural programme was also organised, with local diaspora dance groups taking part.
The first “Varishth Yoddha” event was held on October 31, 2021 in Vancouver, where 27 Indian ex-servicemen were honoured.