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Modi to Light Diwali at Siachen Glacier as Obama Sends Out Greetings

Mumbai: People busy shopping ahead of Diwali in Mumbai, on Oct.17, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)

Mumbai: People busy shopping ahead of Diwali in Mumbai, on Oct.17, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Indian soldiers at Siachen Glacier in Himalays to celebrate Diwali while the US President Barack Obama in a video message wished a “Happy Diwali” and “Saal Mubarak” saying the festival was a reminder that light will ultimately prevail.

Indian prime minister will first arrive at the Siachen Glacier to celebrate Diwali with the soldiers guarding the world’s highest battlefield for the country and then leave for Srinagar to meet the flood-affected people at the Raj Bhawan.

“He will also meet delegations of local traders and members of the civil society,” a source said. “He is scheduled to visit a relief camp besides visiting places badly hit by the floods in the city,” the source added.

Modi is expected to announce a special package for the victims of the floods that had ravaged the state in September.

Meanwhile, the greetings from Obama came as part of the practice he ushed in the White House since 2009 when he became the first US president to celebrate Diwali at the White House. Recalling the “wonderful time” he and his wife Michelle had celebrating the festival in Mumbai during his 2010 visit to India, the US President said:

“I was proud to host the first Diwali celebration at the White House back in 2009. Since then, we’ve continued to mark this holiday to honour the rich traditions that define the American family,” he said.

“And I know Michelle and I will never forget the wonderful time we had celebrating Diwali in Mumbai with food, dancing, and the company of friends,” Obama said.

“So, to all the families gathering together this Diwali to reflect on all the blessings of the past year, I wish you a joyous celebration and Saal Mubarak,” he said.

“For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, lighting the lamp-the diya -is a chance to remember, even in the midst of darkness, that light will ultimately prevail… Diwali is also a reminder that we must each do our part to achieve that victory, by dedicating ourselves to service to others.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry will host the Obama Administration’s annual Diwali celebration on Thursday at the State Department. Kerry will “celebrate the important contributions Indian and South-Asian Americans have made to the United States,” a state department announcement said.

Kerry and the Indian Ambassador to the US S. Jaishankar will then light a traditional Diwali oil lamp.

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