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PM May praises Indian community, says Diwali relevant to all faiths

world Updated: Nov 02, 2016 21:25 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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British Prime Minister Theresa May at a Diwali reception in her official residence 10 Downing Street in London last week.(PTI)

Days before taking off for a visit to India, Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday hailed the contribution of Britain’s Indian community and said the values reflected by Diwali were relevant to everyone.

May is due to leave on November 6 for a two-day visit to New Delhi and Bengaluru, during which she and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Indo-UK Tech Summit. Britain’s future of trade in the post-Brexit scenario is the focus of her visit.

May said in a Diwali message that the festival is not relevant only to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists: “It is relevant to all of us, those of all faiths and none. We can all learn from the example set by Lord Rama, whose return from exile is marked by these five holy days.

“That epic story teaches us about building strong families and communities, shunning wrongdoing and evil, and choosing the right path. It promotes the values of service, responsibility, unity and tolerance.

“We need those values more than ever as we build a country that works for everyone – a country where no matter what your faith, your beliefs or your background, you can reach your full potential.”

Recalling the Indian community’s contribution to Britain, May said she would highlight their achievements during her India visit. “In Britain’s Indian communities, we can see the good that can be done when people’s talents are unleashed,” she said.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson added: “Ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India next month, I hope these celebrations continue and help further strengthen our long friendship with India.”