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(Xinhua) The Maldives celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence on Sunday with a series of events which was attended by high ranking foreign dignitaries and officials from around the world.

The celebrations of the island’s golden jubilee of independence began on Friday night with an hour-long fireworks display at capital Male’s Republic Square. The function was witnessed by thousands, including President Abdulla Yameen, first lady Fathimath Ibrahim, and former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Male city and its surrounding islands were all illuminated in colorful lights with the government deciding to leave the lights up till August 10. A formal ceremony was held for the foreign dignitaries on Sunday evening. Congratulating President Abdulla Yameen on Maldives’ 50th Independence Day, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his message that he believed the country would realize further development under Yameen’s leadership.

Stressing that China has always valued its friendship with the Maldives, Xi said China would like to work with the country to further promote bilateral ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, highlighted age-old ties between the Maldives and India, noting 2015 also marks the Golden Jubilee year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“I am confident that these close and friendly ties will continue to expand in coming years,” Modi said.

British Queen Elizabeth II said: “It gives me great pleasure to send my warmest greetings to the people of Maldives on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Independence together with my best wishes for happiness and prosperity in the coming years.” Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in the Maldives on Sunday to participate as a chief guest in the ceremony.

Dignitaries from China, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius, Japan, Bangladesh gathered to witness the grand celebration.