British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, illuminated lamps at a vibrant Diwali celebration hosted at 10 Downing Street.

The couple marked the first year of Sunak becoming the British Prime Minister by adorning the residence with marigolds and candles. Sunak also joked about not saying much about England’s performance in the Cricket World Cup and “switching” to the Indian side due to the team’s impressive performance.

As Diwali approaches, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, illuminated lamps to celebrate the festival at a special reception held at 10 Downing Street. The event was attended by members of the Indian diaspora, parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, and Bollywood celebrities.

In honor of the first year of Sunak’s Prime Ministership in the United Kingdom, the couple decorated the Downing Street residence with a theme featuring vibrant marigolds and candles during an event on Wednesday evening. Sunak and Murty reflected on the significance of this “extra special” Diwali, with the UK Prime Minister recalling his visit to India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 Summit in September.

Sunak expressed his sentiment, saying, “Diwali is an incredibly special time for all of us and our families, but for me, now, it also brings back amazing memories of becoming Prime Minister this time last year. It’s been a year of incredibly hard work, some real progress, and of course, memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life… It was an incredible moment to go to India for the G20 as the first British Indian Prime Minister, and be there for India’s big moment on the world stage with Modiji.”

The British PM also made a lighthearted reference to the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup, suggesting that it’s best to say “less” about England’s cricket team and playfully mentioned “switching” to the Indian side of the family, given Team India’s impressive performance in the tournament.

Reflecting on his first year as Prime Minister, the 43-year-old leader spoke about the values instilled by his parents, Yashvir and Usha, which sustained him through the various challenges of his leadership. He emphasized the importance of values such as hard work, a commitment to service, the value of education, and making the right decisions, even when they are not the easiest ones.

Sunak shared a personal anecdote about his grandmother’s journey from East Africa to the UK over 60 years ago, highlighting the themes of hope, faith, ambition, and prioritizing the next generation.

At the event, various temples across the UK contributed to an Annakut display as offerings to God, and children from the Avanti Court Primary School recited religious shlokas. Sunak and his wife engaged with guests, including the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, and Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna.

In a social media post, 10 Downing Street extended Diwali wishes to everyone across the UK and around the world celebrating the festival.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart, Rishi Sunak, recently discussed the progress on a Free Trade Agreement during a telephone conversation. The UK and India are in negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement, with talks commencing in 2022. The 12th round of negotiations for the UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) occurred from August 8 to August 31, 2023.

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