By Sandeep Datta
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi readies to address people from India in Sydney, the Indian diaspora wants him to keep their wishes and concerns in mind while engaging in diplomacy with the Australian leadership.
From dual citizenship to simplifying visas for elderly parents or opening branches of Indian banks in Australia to fast-tracking free trade agreements, Indians living in Australia appreciate that Modi wants to address what actually concerns them.
During his five-day Australia visit, the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years after Rajiv Gandhi, Modi recently expressed a desire on Twitter to hear from the Indian diaspora about their concerns.
Chirag Trivedi, a member of the Australia India Business Council management committee, told IANS over phone that if the Indian government facilitates multiple visas for a longer duration, like a 10-year period on the lines of the US and Canada, it will reduce expenses and ease the process of documentation and other things like medical tests.
“There are individuals who are basically single child of their parents here. If these parents want to visit their child, they have to go through a difficult visa process every time, including medical tests. It is painstaking for those old parents coming from villages and already suffering due to their health condition,” Trivedi, who came to Australia from Ahmedabad five years ago, said.
Saumil Joshi, a chartered accountant in Queensland from Ahmedabad, wants branches of Indian banks to be opened in Australia for Indians. “I am delighted that our promising new PM is currently in Australia. Please consider opening functional branches of major banks of India.”
Ajita Upadhyay of Queensland, who hails from Kanpur, wants the dual citizenship issue to be given priority to make Indian-origin people feel connected to their birth place.
“Indians in Australia are confident that Mr. Modi will bring a positive change around the country not only for those living in India but also people like myself who love India even after taking Australian nationality.
“I would like our PM to consider a genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights to overseas Indians. Many other countries already have this facility. I have confidence that our new PM can make that happen,” she added.
Shilpa Sharma, a credit controller in Melbourne who hails from Delhi, wants efforts for free trade agreement to be expedited.”We wish Modiji’s leadership ensures fast-tracking of the free trade agreement between India and Australia which can benefit people on both sides as well as the governments. Vande Matram to the great Indian leader.”
Harita Dalal, a young HR professional in Sydney from Haryana, told IANS that she wishes the Modi-led government does something about dual citizenship as well.
“I feel most of us would be highly delighted if Prime Minister Modi makes it possible for all NRIs to have dual citizenship,” she said.
“Modiji has turned around the way the government initiatives and policies used to work. Now, each policy his government implements reaches out to the masses. And the way the Swachch Bharat drive has been launched by him, each and every Indian by heart feels connected to it and they also wish to play their role in such drives whether they live in Sydney or any part of the world,” Balesh Singh Dhankhar, a researcher, also linked to the India Australia Community Foundation in Sydney, said.
Modi, who is visiting Australia within three months of Abbott’s visit to India as prime minister, reached Brisbane Nov 14 and is scheduled to cover Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne during his four-day trip.