British PM Rishi Sunak leads Diwali celebrations in London with Indian community


Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty on their way to welcome guests ahead of the Diwali festival at Downing Street in London on Wednesday (ANI)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday attended a Diwali event where lamps were lit to celebrate the ‘festival of lights’ on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Our Bureau

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed guests from the Hindu community to Downing Street ahead of Diwali. Visuals shared by Downing Street on X showed the UK PM and his wife, Akshata Murty, lighting diyas, surrounded by a large number of people who had come to join the celebration.

“Shubh Diwali to everyone across the UK and around the world,” the post by UK Prime Minister’s office said.

As several United Kingdom politicians have opened their doors to the Indian population ahead of the Diwali celebrations, Speaker of the UK House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, hosted the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Vikram Doraiswami.

For the first time ever, the First Minister and two most senior ministers (Health and Economy) of Wales attended the Diwali celebrations organized by the Indian Consul in Cardiff on Wednesday. Diwali celebrations in Wales are a collaboration between the Welsh Government and Consul of India, Wales.

Sunak and Akshata Murty light a ceremonial at Downing Street on Wednesday (ANI)

On the occasion, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced plans for a new Welsh and Indian economic initiative next year.

Speaking at the event at Glamorgan Cricket Club in Pontcanna, the 69-year-old Labor politician revealed the details for the Year of Wales in India 2024, which aims to create even greater economic and cultural ties between the two nations. The launch is due to take place in India around St David’s Day (March 1, 2024), and other events are planned in a number of cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The First Minister was joined by Health Minister Baroness Eluned Morgan, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething, Deputy High Commissioner Shri Sujit Ghosh, who all spoke at the event which was organized by Indian Honorary Consul Raj Aggarwal.

The packed Diwali celebration was attended by hundreds of guests and included some exuberant festivities, with traditional Indian music, dancing and food.

Speaking at the event Indian Consul Raj Aggarwal voiced his excitement for the forthcoming initiatives.

Raj Aggarwal said: “We are looking forward to organizing several events in India next year to build even stronger links between our two nations. The main themes for these meetings will include trade and investment, education, culture and health. This is a great opportunity to consolidate our relationships to ensure greater cooperation in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday attended a Diwali event where lighted lamps to celebrate the ‘festival of lights’ on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This comes amid an ongoing diplomatic standoff between India and Canada, which has resulted in deteriorated ties between the nations.

Sharing the event’s glimpse on his official Instagram handle, Trudeau wrote, “In just a few days, people across the country and around the world will celebrate Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas. Both celebrations are about the triumph of light over darkness, and about optimism – and both are a symbol of the light we all need more of.”

“To everyone who came together for yesterday’s event on Parliament Hill: Happy Diwali! Happy Bandi Chhor Divas! I hope the celebrations this week bring you optimism for the year ahead,” he said further, extending his wishes on the occasion. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights which symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 12.

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