World leaders on Thursday greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian people on the 73rd Independence Day and described New Delhi as a close friend.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering were among the first leaders to congratulate Prime Minister Modi.
"India is our neighbour and close friend and we shall continue working with the Indian government to further strengthen the ties between Maldives and India," Solih said in a tweet.
Modi thanked him, saying India cherishes the strong friendship between the two nations.
Nepal's Oli said his country is delighted to observe India's rapid economic growth achieved over the past seven decades.
Modi responded by expressing hope that the friendship between the neighbours continue to scale new heights and enhance prosperity for the two peoples.
Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering tweeted he "sees new chapters of friendship unfold for the two countries."
"But for today, I wish the people of India a happy Independence Day. We pray for a peaceful and prosperous India," he wrote.
Modi, who is visiting Bhutan later this week, said Tshering is correct about the unwavering friendship between India and Bhutan.
"This friendship is growing in a wide range of sectors, which is a great sign. I look forward to meeting you during my upcoming Bhutan visit," the PM said.