Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and India Ambassador to the United States Navtej Sarna with colleagues at the State Department.

Top Indian and American diplomats celebrated Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, in Washington on Monday (5), reflecting the “great strength” of partnership between the two nations.

This was for the first time the State Department and the Indian Embassy were collaborating for Diwali celebrations.

Navtej Sarna, the Indian ambassador to the US, and John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, 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 strength of partnership with India and shared values of tolerance, diversity, freedom and justice.

Thanking the Embassy of India and the South Asian American Employee Association for organising the event, Sullivan 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.

Sarna, meanwhile, called the celebration the symbol of growing people to people connect between India and the US. He also highlighted the rising profile and growing recognition of the contribution of US citizens of Indian origin, including within the US State Department.

The celebrations were attended by around 200 guests, including officials of the State Department and the Indian Embassy.