Published By: Aditi Ray Chowdhury
Last Updated: November 13, 2023, 10:40 IST
London, United Kingdom (UK)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir here on the occasion of Diwali and prayed for the peace, harmony and prosperity of the Indian community around the world, hours after he called on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street. Jaishankar is on a five-day official visit to the UK with an aim to review various aspects of bilateral ties and give ”new impetus to the friendly ties”.
”Blessed to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Deepavali. Prayed for the peace, harmony and prosperity of our community around the world,” Jaishankar said in a post on platform X. ”Glad to interact with our community. Their contributions are raising our profile around the world,” he said of the Indian community across the world.
Blessed to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Deepavali.Prayed for the peace, harmony and prosperity of our community around the world.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) November 12, 2023
The Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, also called the Neasden Temple, thanked Jaishankar for taking time out to join the Diwali celebrations on Sunday. ”We appreciate your kind words, which inspired the thousands of devotees and visitors from the local community who had joined the celebrations. May the #LivingBridge between Great Britain and Great Bharat grow and glow from strength to strength,” the Neasden Temple said on X.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty on Sunday hosted Jaishankar and his wife Kyoko Jaishankar for Diwali tea at Downing Street here. ”The Prime Minister @RishiSunak welcomed @DrSJaishankar to Downing Street this evening. Together they expressed their very best wishes as Indian communities around the world begin #Diwali celebrations,” the UK Prime Minister’s office said in a post on X.
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 posted on X. He also thanked Prime Minister Sunak and his wife for their warm reception and gracious hospitality.
”Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Diwali. Hope that this Festival of Lights brings peace, prosperity and health for all,” the minister posted earlier on X. While in the UK, he is expected to attend an event at Lord’s Cricket Ground and address a Diwali Reception organised by the High Commission of India in London on Monday.
He is also expected at a repatriation ceremony for two ancient temple sculptures from Uttar Pradesh and join a discussion on the theme of How a billion people see the world’. During his talks with his UK counterpart, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, it is expected that preparations for Sunak’s possible visit to India in the next few months will be on the agenda.
”India and the UK have a growing bilateral partnership. During his visit, the external affairs minister will be holding discussions with his counterpart, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and will meet several other dignitaries,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement last week. The MEA also referred to the ”warm and thriving” relationship between the two sides.
The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030 which seeks to expand ties in a range of areas. India and the UK have been negotiating a free trade agreement since January last year with a target to significantly enhance the estimated GBP 36-billion bilateral trading partnership.
The talks have undergone 13 rounds of negotiations, with officials hopeful of clinching a deal ahead of general elections in both countries scheduled for 2024.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)