Washington: Describing India as a country of enormous energy and power, US secretary of state John Kerry has said that the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a moment when Indians and Americans got a real sense of what the two "natural partners" were able to achieve together.
"Everybody here knows better than anybody in the world, India is, of course, a country of enormous energy and power," he said while speaking at the first ever Diwali celebrations at the US state department headquarters on Thursday.
"It is by far the largest nation in South Asia and last month during Prime Minister Modi's visit to the United States, we had an unforgettable chance both to build on the already deep ties between America and India, and many of you were here when Vice President Biden and I welcomed the prime minister right here to this very stage," he said after lighting the Diyas.
The top US diplomat said Modi's visit was a moment when Indians and Americans could get a real sense of what the two countries were able to accomplish by working together.
India and the US could work together to fight against terrorism, create opportunity for young people in both the nations, combat climate change and achieve greater progress by pushing back the boundaries of science and technology, he said.
"And we are determined to build on that moment that was so well defined here in the prime minister's words and in the vice president's words, so that the world's oldest and largest democracies can realise the truly extraordinary, boundless potential of our relationship," Kerry added.
Lauding the decade-long efforts of leaders from both the countries, he said, they worked hard to prove that India and the US were "natural partners."
The secretary of state said India and the US were two optimistic nations who did not believe in the deterministic forces of history, but that they had the power to shape history.
"We are two optimistic nations who believe that history doesn't shape us, but that we have the power to shape history," Kerry said.
Some 300 guests, including a large number of eminent Indian-Americans and envoys from other South Asian countries, were present to celebrate Diwali for the first time at the state department's historic Benjamin Franklin room, which was lit with many small diyas and candles.
S Jaishankar, India's ambassador to the US, also joined the celebrations.