Trinidad and Tobago prime minister, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, sends Independence greetings to India and Pakistan
Sixty-eight years ago the Union Jack came down in the Far East to herald the birth of two nations, India and Pakistan, carved from the single Indian state that Great Britain considered the great jewel in its crown.
The Indian Independence Bill ended 200 years of British rule but did not end the ethnic rivalries and violence that marred the struggle for freedom from colonial domination.
We in Trinidad and Tobago, also a British colony at the time, celebrated the event with many Indian nationals who had come here from the single Indian nation as contract labourers.
By 1947, thirty years after Indentureship ended, many Indian families had adopted our country as their new home, and had started to build communities to replicate the homes they gave up in preference for a new life in the shadow of the plantations that they helped revitalize in the aftermath of slavery.
Today we are blessed to have their descendants living in harmony with others who also came here to work on plantations and together all our people have built a country of which each of us can be proud.
India and Pakistan remain home to more than one billion people and both neighbours live in harmony celebrating their people and their successes as equal members of the global community.
The art and culture of both states have influenced and enriched our country and we continue to share common goals.
On this special occasion on behalf of the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, and on my own behalf, I extend warm Independence greetings to India and Pakistan.