Sun, Mar 26, 2017 | updated 06:34 PM IST

Prime Minister hosts 2016 Diwali reception at Downing Street

Updated: Oct 25, 2016 17:28 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct.25 (ANI): British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed people from across the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities to celebrate Diwali at Downing Street in London.

A British High Commission release in Delhi said Prime Minister Theresa May hosted a reception to celebrate Diwali and welcomed more than 150 key figures from across the Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.

His Excellency Dinesh Patnaik, Acting Indian High Commissioner and Jitendra Patel, Trustee of Neasden Temple were joined by the Prime Minister in the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

The Prime Minister was also joined by the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Sajid Javid, Lord Gadhia and Foreign Office Minister Alok Sharma.

The Prime Minister said: "Thank you, and welcome to 10 Downing Street. It is great to have so many of you here at this special time of year and an honour to host my first Diwali reception as Prime Minister. For me, one of the most remarkable things about this festival is the sheer scale of its reach and the universal appeal of its message.

"Look at India - over a billion people, speaking hundreds of different languages, following various different faiths - united by this festival of light. Look at the rest of the world, and the colourful celebrations taking place from Singapore to South Africa, Australia to Nepal.

"And look at Britain, where, right now, people are buying gifts on Leicester's Golden Mile, preparing pendas on Soho Road in Birmingham, and stringing up lights on Wembley's Ealing Road - all in time for 5 holy days that are such an important part of our national life. When we analyse the true meaning of Diwali, its relevance extends beyond India, beyond the Indian diaspora and even beyond the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists who, in different ways, mark the festival. Its messages apply to every single one of us - whatever our background, whatever our faith.

"Now I have to say I haven't read all 24,000 verses in the epic poem about Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya. But I do know the story of his homecoming from the many Diwali celebrations I have attended in my own constituency over the years.

"Over a number of years the children have acted out the story.

"The values he embodied are values which we can all heed.

"Values of charity, sacrifice and responsibility; to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: losing ourselves in the service of others.

"Values of good conduct - 'dharma' - taking the right path and ensuring that good triumphs over evil.

"Values of hope, optimism, of forgiveness - of the new beginnings and clean slates represented by the Hindu New Year as people wear new clothes and say prayers for the year ahead.

"I think these are the values we need more than ever as we forge a new, positive, ambitious role for Britain in the world.

"The mission of my government - that fairer Britain - is to build a country that works for everyone - a country where no matter who you are, you can achieve your dreams.

"The achievements of our British Indian communities - one and a half million people - demonstrate just how much a country can achieve when talent is unleashed and people of all backgrounds are able to fulfil their potential - that's what is important.

"Our political system becomes more representative and more effective - and I am so proud to have Priti Patel in the Cabinet; Alok Sharma in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; MPs like Shailesh Vara and Rishi Sunak in the Commons; and peers like Jitesh Gadhia, Dolar Popat, Sandip Verma and Ranbir Suri in the Lords.

"When talent is unleashed, our education system offers more choice and opportunity. Indeed, it is Hindu Schools, like the Avanti Trust, who are achieving great things and underlining why we need to go further in supporting faith schools.

"Our economy becomes more successful and dynamic - including those up-and-coming industries that attract such a diverse range of entrepreneurs, like technology, film and, close to my own heart, fashion.

"And our society becomes stronger, as people from all backgrounds play their part in making our schools, hospitals, police forces and armed forces the best they can be.

"So as we gather here today, as we celebrate the achievements of British Indians and all our many diverse communities, I want us to remember the importance of removing the barriers that prevent people from reaching their potential.

"I want us to be proud of what Diwali means to our nation - after all, it was here in Downing Street that Prime Minister Modi chose to start the last Hindu New Year.

"And, next month I am delighted to be returning his visit when I go to India - it will be my first bilateral outside of the European Union and I'm going from Delhi to Bangalore - a true celebration of relations between our countries and our shared ambitions for the future.

"Above all, I want to wish you all a Shubh Deepawali and give my best wishes to those celebrating Bandhi Chhor Diwas too. Thank you." (ANI)

London [UK], Mar. 26 (ANI): The ban on carrying some selected electronic devices by the passengers in cabins of flights from certain countries in the Middle East and Africa by the United States and United Kingdom was put considering a previously undisclosed terrorists' plot involving explosives hidden in a electronic device.

Full Story >>

Houstan [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): Ian Grillot, who was injured while trying to intervene during the Kansas shooting incident that killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was felicitated by Indian-Americans community in Houston.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 26 (ANI): A new government report obtained by the Pakistani media has revealed that the major source of funding for terror and extremist groups in the country is crime including extortion, smuggling and kidnapping for ransom.

Full Story >>

Cincinnati [United States], Mar. 26 (ANI): At least one person has reportedly been killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire at Cameo Night Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, local U.S. media reported.

Full Story >>

Washington [United States], Mar. 26 (ANI): Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has reiterated that Islamabad wants good relations with India, but every time the dialogue process is halted, it eventually helps the terrorists to have their way.

Full Story >>

Tokyo [Japan], Marc. 26 (ANI): NEC Corporation and Netcracker Technology have announced their participation in a trial with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) to realize the "NetroSphere Concept" for developing future communication networks.

Full Story >>

Tokyo [Japan], Marc. 26 (ANI): NEC Corporation has announced its contribution to INTERPOL's Digital Security Challenge (DSC) cybercrime investigation training held at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.

Full Story >>

Washington [United States], Mar. 26 (ANI): Pakistan's Ambassador in the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has said that Islamabad's historic ties with China and its efforts to forge close ties with Russia will not have an adverse effect on its traditional partnership with the United States.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 26 (ANI): After superstar Rajinikanth called off his proposed visit to Sri Lanka after facing opposition from Tamil fringe groups, Lankan politician Namal Rajapaksa, who happens to be the son of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has expressed his displeasure towards the entire development.

Full Story >>

New York [U.S.], Mar. 26 (ANI): The U.S. Department of Defense has confirmed that a well-known Al-Qaeda terrorist leader, responsible for several attacks in Pakistan, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism airstrike conducted in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.

Full Story >>

London [U.K.], Mar. 26 (ANI): European Union (EU) leaders renewed their vows on the 60th anniversary of the bloc's founding treaties at a special summit in Rome designed to show unity despite Britain's looming split from the union.

Full Story >>

London [U.K.], Mar. 26 (ANI): Brexit negotiations are on course to fail unless both Britain and the European Union ditch their winner-takes-all approach to the coming talks, the former president of the European commission Jose Manuel Barroso has said.

Full Story >>

Kabul [Afghanistan], Mar. 26 (ANI): Kandahar Governor Humayun Azizi, who recently returned home after treatment of his injuries that he sustained in an attack at a guesthouse in the province, has claimed the aforementioned attack was plotted by the Taliban on the other side of the Durand Line, the de facto border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Full Story >>

London [U.K.], Mar. 26 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump hasn't had the best week as it saw him pulling the disputed health care bill and facing FBI charges of a collusion between his White House campaign and Russia.

Full Story >>

Dhaka [Bangladesh], Mar. 26 (ANI): The ruling Awami League, which had led the Liberation War that caused Bangladesh to gain freedom from Pakistani occupancy in 1971, is all set to mark the 46th anniversary of the country's independence.

Full Story >>

London [U.K.], Mar. 26: The U.S. military conducted airstrikes at a location in western Mosul more than a week ago where there were allegations of civilian casualties, U.S. Central Command has said.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 26 (ANI): The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has rescheduled its upcoming foreign-ministers meeting to accommodate Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he expressed his inability to attend on the original April 5 date, as reported by The Washington Post.

Full Story >>

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 26 (ANI): The Pakistan Government has given its green signal for retired Gen. Raheel Sharif to take charge as head of a 39-nation military alliance of Muslim states.

Full Story >>

Washington D. C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump invited several decorated veterans to the White House on Friday to celebrate Medal of Honor Day.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 25 (ANI): Thousands of Brexit protestors gathered for Saturday's Unite for Europe protest, which began at London's exclusive Park Lane next to Hyde Park before marching to parliament.

Full Story >>