Following on the practice of celebrating Diwali in the White House, US President Donald Trump today lighted a diya to mark the festival. The practice of celebrating Diwali in the White House was started by Barack Obama in 2009. Since then, the White House has celebrated Diwali every year. Trump lit the diya today in the presence of various Indian-Americans in his administration. The group included Nikki Haley, who is the ambassador to the UN and Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalabh Kumar and his family. Speaking on the occasion, Trump said that he is honored to celebrate the festivals of lights with his colleagues. He said that America always remembers the people of India, and its majority Hindu population, which have worked hard to build the largest democracy in the world. Trump also said that he values his strong relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trump and Modi have developed a good rapport and they will be meeting once again soon in Manila on the sidelines of ASEAN meeting that will be held next month. Trump said that Indian-Americans have made significant contributions to the United States and the world as well. He said that people of Indian origin have contributed significantly in the areas of art, science, medicine, business and education. “America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land,” Trump said.