Deepika Padukone to be Grand Marshal at India Day Parade in New York

New York, June 11 (IANS) Deepika Padukone, who stormed Bollywood with her debut film "Om Shanti Om" last year, is to lead the 28th India Day Parade here as Grand Marshal Aug 17 to celebrate India's 61st Independence Day.

The parade, organised every year by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), moves down Madison Avenue in Manhattan, culminating at a venue where cultural and entertainment programmes are held.

The parade attracts around 50,000 people, making it the biggest such event outside India.

Announcing details of the parade, FIA President Yash Paul Soi said at a kick-off meeting Tuesday at the Indian consulate here that former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has also been invited.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was the Grand Marshal last year and Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams the Guest of Honour.

FIA has started campaigning to have Mahatma Gandhi's statues erected at the United Nations in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. It has written to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon seeking permissions.

Set up in 1981, FIA is a large, influential umbrella organisation of the Indian American community in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The objective of its annual India Day Parade is to project Indian Americans' progress and unity with other communities.

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