WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Ambassador Navtej Sarna hosted a Hanukkah celebration at his residence in the nation’s capital Monday, the gathering was an official event organized by the Indian Embassy.

The event, which had been held at the embassy for the past 15 years, was attended by around 200 guests, including leading members of the local Jewish community and representatives from members of the House of Representatives.

Following the lighting of the Menorah, Ambassador Sarna spoke on the rich and historical relationship that India have with the Jewish faith around the world, and suggested the deepening of the relationship came because of the increased amount of visits between the two in recent years. Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said the gathering represented the remarkable history of both nations, and that India and Israel have been tasked with the unique challenge of balancing the state of their cultures’ globalization while at the same time preserving their identity.

Stanley Bergman, honorary president of the American Jewish Committee, said both countries also share a common enemy against their further development — terrorism. During his remarks, Bergman recalled the time he spent in South Africa, where he celebrated both Hanukkah and Diwali with his Indian counterparts.

Jamie Raskin, a Congressman-elect from Maryland, also attended the event and said that it should serve as a celebration of freedom and democracy above all.