India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, marked the festive occasion of Diwali with a visit to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as the Neasden Temple, in London. During his visit, he addressed the Indian diaspora at the temple, extending his warm Diwali greetings to the gathered community and expressing his joy at being “among our own people” during this auspicious season.
“Shubh Diwali to all of you. Nothing can be happier than being among our own people on such an auspicious occasion,” Jaishankar remarked. His visit to the United Kingdom was a natural choice during the festival of Deepawali, and he seized the opportunity to connect with members of the community.
In his address, Jaishankar emphasized the unwavering efforts of the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in strengthening India’s relations with the UK. He shared insights from his recent discussions with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and underscored the commitment to enhancing the ties between the two nations.
“Modi Sarkar works 24*7 every day, we all know that. On Deepawali day, I have come from a long meeting with Rishi Sunak. We had the occasion to discuss our relations with the UK and India,” he noted.
Jaishankar also reflected on the evolving global perception of India, highlighting the positive transformation of India’s image. He acknowledged the role played by the Indian diaspora in shaping this perception, saying, “I am a testament to how much the image of Bharat has changed. The image of India—a large part of it is what happens in Bharat by all of us, but a large part of it is what all you do in your everyday life.”
The minister celebrated India’s achievements on the international stage, emphasizing the country’s status as the fastest-growing large economy and its successful G20 presidency.
“India is today the fastest growing large economy. There is leadership. There is vision. There is good governance.”
Earlier in the day, S Jaishankar and his wife Kyoko Jaishankar were hosted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for Diwali tea at Downing Street. The meeting aimed to reframe the relationship between India and the UK for contemporary times.
“Delighted to call on Prime Minister @RishiSunak on #Diwali Day. Conveyed the best wishes of PM @narendramodi. India and the UK are actively engaged in reframing the relationship for contemporary times,” Jaishankar shared on X. He also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty for their warm reception and gracious hospitality.
The visit to the UK marks the beginning of Jaishankar’s five-day official trip, which aims to review various aspects of bilateral ties and inject new energy into the friendly relationship between the two countries.