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Speech of Ambassador Dr. Jaishankar on the occasion of Diwali celebration hosted by Governor Of Maryland Martin O'Malley in Annapolis, MD on October 29, 2014

1. It is a great pleasure to join you all this evening to celebrate Diwali.  Let me begin by thanking Governor O'Malley for his initiative in recognizing this festival which is so important for Indians.  This is, of course, a great gesture of bonding.  But it is also an affirmation of the American way that respects and values the culture and traditions of its various communities. 

2. In some ways, it is natural that this event should be taking place in Annapolis under the aegis of the Governor.  The State of Maryland has been exceptionally open to Indian Americans who have done well here by any standard.  Maryland has also striven consistently to build a strong  relationship with India.  Governor O'Malley's meeting with Prime Minister Modi during the latter's recent visit to the United States was a reflection of that endeavour.  I note that the Governor had led a trade mission a few years earlier to India and that Mrs. O'Malley had also visited last year.  Let me take this occasion to underline that we welcome such outreach efforts by States.  As two federal polities, such connections at the State level can contribute to the overall bilateral relationship. 

3. Diwali is both a time for reflection and renewal.  That is what is happening in India right now where the focus is on modernizing the society to meet the expectations of the youth.  In many ways, that quest is symbolized by a campaign of 'Clean India'.  Where we all are concerned, this can express itself through activities that raise our ties to a higher level, especially by contributing to the transformation of India.  Governor, may I avail of this opportunity to reiterate our interest in working even more closely with your State? There are big changes underway in India that will provide more opportunities for cooperation.  You will recall that in your conversation with the Prime Minister, the role of technology to enhance the efficiency of governance had come up.  We know that Maryland has a strong reputation in life sciences, biotechnology, IT and in cyber skills.  My Diwali wish is to see us realize the full potential of our compatibility.

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