India’s Modi to address parliament, engage diaspora in Australia
New Delhi (AFP) – Narendra Modi will address Australian parliament during his upcoming visit to the country — the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, an official confirmed Monday.
The trip comes just two months after Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s tour of India, during which the two countries sealed a long-awaited nuclear energy deal.
“Besides addressing the parliament in Canberra during this first PM visit since 1986, Modi will also hold a major event with the Indian community in Sydney where we expect a crowd of at least 15,000 people,” Ashok Wadhwa, Secretary [East] at the foreign ministry told media on Monday.
Modi’s public address in Sydney is expected to be similar to his New York visit in September, where he was greeted like a rock star as he addressed a sellout crowd of several thousand members of Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden.
India’s foreign ministry described Modi’s historic visit to Australia as part of its efforts to ‘re-engage’ Australia and its businesses.
Modi will also be meeting top business leaders and politicians in Australia in efforts to improve economic ties between the two countries.
“We have overlapping economic interests, particularly in the resources sector where India has already invested around $10 billion,” said Wadhwa.
There will be four different events where Modi will interact with CEOs and business leaders in Australia.
“This also includes a special reception that will be held by the Australian premier for Modi, with a select audience in attendance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” Wadhwa added.
The Indian government said that contentious issues of the past, such as racist attacks on the Indian student community in Australia, had been resolved.
“There was a phase when there was much concern about racist attacks on Indian students in Australia, fortunately that phase has passed…it isn’t an issue between the countries any longer,” Wadhwa said.
There are around 450,000 people of Indian origin in Australia, including many from the student community.
Some of the agreements expected to be signed between the two governments during Modi’s visit are on Narcotics Control, Social Security, Tourism and Cultural cooperation.