With Top Indian-American Officials in the Trump Administration, President Participates in the Diwali Lighting of the Diya at White House

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President Donald J. Trump speaks with Indiian Ambassador to the United States Navtej Sarna at the Diwali ceremonial lighting of the Diya Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

WASHINGTON, DC–President Donald Trump on Tuesday participated in the Diwali ceremonial lighting of the Diya at the White House.

Attended by top administration and Indian-American officials, Diwali ceremonial lighting was held on Nov. 13 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, India’s biggest and most important holiday, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

The Diwali celebration at the White House was started by former President George W. Bush in 2003 and was carried on by his successor Barack Obama. Continuing the tradition, President Trump held the celebration at the Oval Office, where he lit a traditional lamp last year.

This year, however, he was caught up in the elections, which took place on Tuesday last week, and could not held the ceremony on actual Diwali day. He held the Diwali Diya lighting ceremony on Tuesday this week to mark Diwali.

The following individuals were in attendance:

The White House

President Donald J. Trump

Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President

Mira Ricardel, Deputy National Security Advisor

Raj Shah, Principal Deputy Press Secretary

Justin Clark, Director of the Office of Public Liaison

Neomi Rao, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

Basant Sanghara, Director for India and Indian Ocean, National Security Council

Jennifer Wethey, Director for India, National Security Council

Neal Patel, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director of Management, Office of Management and Budget

Pranay Udutha, Policy Advisor, Office of the Senior Counselor

Air Force Technical (TSgt) Sergeant Dinesh Sheonath, White House Military Office

Trump Administration

Manisha Singh, Acting Under Secretary of the Department of State

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services

Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration

Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Dimple Shah, Assistant Secretary for International Engagement of the Department of Homeland Security

Bimal Patel, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Financial Stability Oversight Council, Department of the Treasury

Vanila Singh, Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services

Pradeep Belur, Chief of Staff of the Small Business Administration

Gopal Khanna, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services

Asheesh Agarwal, General Counsel of the Social Security Administration

Stacy Amin, Chief Counsel of the Food and Drug Administration

Garg Arjun, Chief Counsel of the Federal Transit Administration at the Department of Transportation

Rajive Mathur, Deputy Commissioner and Systems/Chief Info Officer at the Social Security Administration

Gurjeet Guram, Senior Advisor, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Lathika Thomas, Senior Counselor in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice

External Attendees

H.E. Ambassador Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to the United States

Dr. Avina Sarna, Spouse of the Ambassador of India to the United States

Mr. Pratik Mathur, First Secretary & Special Assistant to the Ambassador.

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