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Tibetans celebrate India''s Republic Day

Dharamsala, January 26 (IANS) The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Sunday greeted the people of India on their 71st Republic Day and expressed gratitude for granting political asylum to spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

A ceremony was held at the CTA headquarters here in this Himachal Pradesh town that saw the presence of its ministers, secretaries and senior leadership.

Hoisting the Indian national flag to the tune of the Indian national anthem, Department of Religion and Culture Minister Karma Gelek Yuthok greeted the people by saying: "Over the course of 71 years, India has garnered worldwide admiration for its booming growth in every field and especially for the thriving democracy and diversity."

"On this occasion, I take the opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to India for granting political asylum to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for ensuring the viability and sustainability of the Tibetan freedom struggle and lastly, for supporting the efforts of the Tibetan people in the preservation of its rich ancient culture and unique identity," he said.

He also thanked the Indian government for giving recognition to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and culture and conferring India''s highest civilian awards on individuals with extraordinary accomplishments in the Tibetan Buddhism discipline.

Every year, the CTA, the democratically elected government-in-exile, holds functions at its headquarters to celebrate India''s Republic Day and Independence Day functions.

India is currently home to around 100,000 Tibetans and the CTA.

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