In a first, top Indian, US diplomats celebrate Diwali at State Department
Top Indian and American diplomats celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, here on Monday, reflecting the “great strength” of partnership between the two largest democracies of the world.
Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan were chief guests at the Diwali celebrations held at Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
Sullivan said the celebration of Diwali at the State Department reflects the great strength of partnership with India and shared values of tolerance, diversity, freedom and justice.
Around 200 guests, including officials of the State Department and the Indian Embassy, attended the celebrations. This was for the first time that the State Department organised its Diwali celebrations in collaboration with the Indian Embassy.
Celebration of Diwali at the State Department symbolises the growing people to people connect between India and the US, Sarna said.
He highlighted the rising profile and growing recognition of the contribution of US citizens of Indian origin, including within the US State Department.
Sarna also made a reference to release of Diwali stamp by the United States Postal Service in 2016 in recognition of the closer cultural ties and commonalities between the two democracies.
Sullivan conveyed his greetings to all Indians on the occasion of Diwali and thanked the Embassy of India and the South Asian American Employee Association (SAAEA) for organising the event.
He said that the uniting theme in the celebration of Diwali is the thread of triumph - good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Sullivan also said the message of Diwali is one of hope.
Recital of Hindustani classical music played on tabla and sitar, were part of the event.