Modi gets warm welcome in Australia as he seeks to boost ties

Sydney, Australia, May 23 (EFE).- Indian prime minister Narendra Modi championed his country’s ties with Australia as he was welcomed by thousands of Indian expats at a packed stadium in Sydney on Tuesday.

The event, which Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese also attended, is part of the Indian leader’s diplomatic push to boost economic and defense ties with Canberra.

“It is a huge pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Australia,” Albanese told the crowd, pointing out that he had met with Modi six times during his first year as prime minister, which he was celebrating on Tuesday.

“But absolutely nothing beats standing with him on a stage like this, looking out at this magnificent sea of faces. What an honor!” Abanese added, before praising Modi for bringing “the spirit of the world’s biggest democracy to Australia.”

“And you have helped make our democracy stronger and more inclusive,” he said.

In front of a crowd of 20,000 people, Modi highlighted the passions Australia and India both share such as cricket and curry, as well as their historic ties to the Commonwealth.

Modi, who said he dreams of seeing “India become a developed nation,” praised his country’s massive pool of talent, pointing out that “India is the fastest growing economy. Today the IMF considers India a bright spot in the global economy. The World Bank believes that if anyone is challenging global headwinds, it is India.”

The two leaders are scheduled to meet on Wednesday to address key issues including renewable energies, security and defense cooperation.

Albanese traveled to India on an official trip in March, while the last time Modi visited Australia was in 2014.

Modi and Albanese already met last weekend in the Japanese city of Hiroshima for a Quad meeting (United States, India, Australia and Japan) that took place on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

The Quad, formally the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, was launched in 2004 after a catastrophic tsunami swept the Indian Ocean and was revived in 2017 to counter China’s growing regional influence. EFE


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