In a grand display of international camaraderie, Australia extended a warm welcome to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reflecting India’s escalating global esteem and influence. During Modi’s recent visit to Sydney, the connection between India and Australia was celebrated, illustrating the deep-rooted bond that transcends formal diplomacy and is ingrained in the people of both nations.
The public event held at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, which witnessed the participation of thousands of Indians living in Australia, was a testament to these strong ties. The Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, who has been in office since May 2022 and other high-ranking Australian officials were also present to welcome PM Modi.
In an address that echoed around the Arena, Albanese hailed Modi as “the Boss”, much to the delight of the attending crowd. The nickname, usually reserved for music legend Bruce Springsteen, showcased the high regard Australia has for the Indian Prime Minister.
Modi’s visit to Australia, his second since 2014, is indicative of the growing importance of India-Australia relations. Modi noted that the relationships between the two countries were once simplified by the concepts of the “Three Cs” – Commonwealth, Cricket, and Curry, or the “Three Ds” – Democracy, Diaspora, and Dosti (Friendship). Today, however, the breadth of these historic ties has expanded significantly, underpinned by mutual trust and respect.
Despite the geographical distance, the Indian Prime Minister underlined the numerous cultural and societal bridges that connect the two nations. The death of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, for example, was mourned not only by Australians but by millions of Indians, showing the shared emotional and cultural landscape.
The Indian Prime Minister further highlighted India’s growing global clout, describing it as a “force of global good”. India’s rich civilization, dating back thousands of years, and its steadfast commitment to democratic principles, despite changing times, contribute to the increasing global curiosity about the country and its accomplishments.
During his address, Prime Minister Modi paid homage to the rich Sikh heritage and the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, highlighting their profound impact on the principles of unity, service, and inclusivity that resonate in Indian society. He praised the Australian Sikh community for embodying these teachings, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis. Drawing attention to the critical role that Gurudwaras in Australia played during the pandemic, Modi lauded them as hubs of support and charity. Gurudwaras across the country opened their doors wide, providing meals and essential services to those in need, regardless of their background or faith. This act of selfless service, or “seva”, as known in Sikhism, underscored the common values shared by India and Australia – compassion, resilience, and community spirit, further cementing the bond between the two nations.
The theme of India’s G20 presidency, “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, signifies its belief in the world as a family. This global kinship is evident in India’s Covid vaccine outreach program, its efforts to promote solar energy, and the creation of disaster-resilient infrastructure.
The strategic partnership between India and Australia, Modi noted, is continually deepening, with the two nations working on a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement and building resilient and reliable supply chains. There are projections that bilateral trade between the two nations could double over the next five years.
Modi also announced the imminent opening of an Indian consulate in Brisbane to serve the Indian diaspora’s needs, further strengthening the bond between the two countries. This is in line with India’s vision of global governance, based on the principle of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayaas” (Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth, Trust for All, Effort by All).
In his concluding remarks, Albanese reiterated the significance of the people’s role in shaping the India-Australia relationship, likening the reception Modi received to that of a rock star. He praised the Indian diaspora for bringing the spirit of the world’s largest democracy to Australia, thereby enriching Australia’s own democratic traditions.
This visit, a part of Modi’s three-nation tour, underlines India’s rising stature on the global stage. It also showcases Australia’s recognition of India as a significant global player, thus heralding a new era in India-Australia relations.