London: The 141st birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was on Monday observed in the UK with Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan hailing the late leader as the "architect of a unified India".
Paswan, minister for food and public distribution, who is on his way back to India from his tour of Trinidad and Tobago, stopped over in the UK for the special event held at India House this morning.
He paid tribute to Sardar Patel as the "architect of a unified India," who ensured that the dream of an undivided India could be achieved.
"We should pledge today that we do not hesitate to offer any sacrifice that may be required to safeguard the unity of India. The interests of the nation are paramount and all other interests are secondary," he said in his speech.
"India is a great nation which has achieved great success. Our GDP growth is close to 8 per cent. It is a matter of pride that we have a Prime Minister like Narendra Modi. In the two-and-a-half years (of his government) the concept of corruption has been vanquished from the Indian dictionary," he noted.
The minister was accompanied by his son, MP Chirag Paswan, and wife, who joined the acting Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Dinesh Patnaik, in paying floral tributes to Patel at the India House ceremony.
Referring to India-UK ties, the minister told PTI that British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to India next week will mark a new chapter in relations.
"The fact that she is going to India for her first bilateral visit outside Europe reflects the strength of India-UK relations in a post-Brexit era," he said.
The president of the Lok Janshakti Party, which is a member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, added that he would be briefing Modi on his visit to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago and the potential for greater cooperation with the country.
The Indian government had last year declared Sardar Patel Jayanti Day on October 31 as 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' (national unification day), with an accompanying 'Ekta Diwas' pledge. Rashtriya Ekta Diwas is being marked across India and among the Indian diaspora population around the world....