US President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden hosted a Diwali reception at the White House on Monday in what they called the largest since the People’s House began celebrating the festival under the George Bush administration.
Over 200 prominent American Indians attended the reception at the East Room, a venue that has witnessed some of the landmark events in India-US relations including the signing of the nuclear deal and the conference US President Barack Obama’s joint press briefing. and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008.
The reception saw exciting cultural events including performances by sitarist Rishab Sharma and dance troupe The Sa Dance Company. The guests, dressed in traditional Indian outfits such as sari, lehenga and sherwani, savored delicious Indian delicacies.
“The room is full at the Eastern State Dining Hall…It’s a true celebration of what the Native American community has accomplished in the United States. It’s a wonderful recognition from the president and the White House to welcome us all on Diwali. I feel very privileged to be here as an Indian American,” Atul Keshap, chairman of the US India Business Council, told PTI during the reception.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be here to celebrate Diwali. American Indians thank the President and First Lady for this,” said HR Shah, Chief Executive Officer of TV Asia, the largest broadcaster South Asian television in the United States.
Ajay Jain Bhutoriamember of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, said the event was organized to recognize the contributions of the South Asian community to economic development and management of the Covid crisis, among others.
Biden has appointed a record number of more than 130 Indian Americans to various levels of administrations, he said.
Welcoming the Diwali celebration, Bhutoria said it sends a message “how much President Biden and this administration love and respect the South Asian community.”
Earlier, welcoming guests, Biden said it was the first Diwali reception to be held at the White House on such a scale.
“The incredible South Asian community across America has helped the country emerge stronger from this pandemic, building an economy that works for everyone, teaching children and caring for elders, responding to the call to action on climate, working to fix the immigration system, defending rights and freedoms, building a more just and equitable country, serving and protecting our communities and the nation, informing, entertaining and inspiring” , did he declare.

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