Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott Host the First-Ever Deepawali Celebration at their Mansion

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HOUSTON: The Honorable Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott hosted the first-ever Deepwali celebration at their mansion in Austin, TX on Friday, November 13.  Consul General of India in Houston, P Harish and a few prominent members of the Indian American community from the State of Texas were invited to this special occasion.

Governor Abbott welcomed the gathering, extended his Deepawali greetings to the Indian Community in Texas, and lit the ceremonial lamp with First Lady Cecilia Abbott on this auspicious occasion.  Governor Abbott expressed a desire to know more about the meaning of Deepawali, its  socio-cultural and religious significance and impact on humanity. Consul General, P Harish explained the significance of Deepawali as a harbinger of peace, joy, and prosperity, the start of the Samvat calendar, an important occasion to strengthen the bonds of goodwill between all sections of society and an inspiration to fight darkness and ignorance ushering in light and wisdom.

Governor Abbott said that the message of Deepawali to dispel darkness and ignorance was especially relevant in view of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris which deserve strong condemnation by one and all.  He also expressed admiration and appreciation for the Indian American community in Texas.

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Governor Abbott made an important announcement during the Deepawali celebration about his plans to lead a trade delegation to India next year, the first by any Governor of Texas, as part of his effort to increase bilateral trade and economic ties between the two countries.  The mission will focus on increasing trade and investment between Texas and India, in a range of sectors.

Consul General, P Harish said that the State of Texas is a critical economic partner for India accounting for around $ 7 billion in trade in goods. Indian companies have investments in Texas worth billions of dollars including in Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and the vibrant Services industry that have created numerous jobs in Texas.  Texas companies also have strong investments in India in a wide range of sectors. The Texas-India bilateral economic engagement has been growing and forms a crucial component of the rapidly expanding and multi-faceted relations between India and the U.S. The narrative of strong commercial ties is reflected in figures with bilateral trade in goods and services exceeding US $ 105 billion last year. There is a strong Indian American Community in the State of Texas and thousands of Indian students in institutions of higher learning in Texas contributing to its economic development and to its diversity and helping in bringing together the people of India and Texas.

The proposed visit by Governor Greg Abbott leading a trade delegation to India will be an important milestone and will see Texas emerge as an important lynchpin in strengthening bilateral economic engagement between India and the United States.