"Everybody here knows better than anybody in the world, India is, of course, a country of enormous energy and power," Kerry 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 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 US were "natural partners."
    
The Secretary of State said India and 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 US, also joined the celebrations.

Celebration of Diwali and other festivals at the State Department, he said, is an indication of how mutual commitment to religious tolerance and pluralism helps to define and to strengthen the two democracies.
    
"President Obama and Prime Minister Modi had a chance to celebrate these shared values last month when they crossed the avenue from the White House and together went to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial," he said.
    
He added that everybody near knows how influenced Dr King was by Mahatma Gandhi.
    
"The two leaders stopped to read a few words from Dr King, words that cautioned all of us, and still do, against the tendency for violence to fuel future violence," he said.
    
"And he warned us all: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
    
"And as Dr King testified so often, life is a constant struggle between the better and lesser angels of our nature.
    
Tonight, as we come together in the spirit of the Diwali festival, we need to, all of us, think about how to reaffirm our shared commitment to the light.
    
And this is particularly a moment as we look at the events around the world where that commitment could serve all humankind," Kerry said.

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