With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to visit Australia in November for the G-20 summit, his Indian “community reception” planned on the lines of New York’s Madison Square Garden event in Sydney is evoking high enthusiasm.
Over 20 senior ministers and parliamentarians from federal and New South Wales (NSW) state have accepted invitations to attend the event. Many eminent scientists, including envrionmental scientists, will be present on this occasion, community leaders said.
Cricketers Bret Lee and Steve Waugh will also be present at the event being sponsored by members of the Indian community, the source added.
The Indian Australia Community Foundation (IACF), the main organising group, said there has been an overwhelming demand for tickets for the Nov 17 community reception programme at Sydney’s AllPhones Arena.
With preparations for the event now in full swing, the www.pmvisit.org.au website has been bombarded with registrations. Over 200 organisations have registered as “Reception Partners”.
“We are pleasantly surprised on receiving 21,000 registrations in just three days as
compared to a similar event in New York. The population of the Indian diaspora in Australia is one-tenth compared to the US,” IACF spokesperson Balesh Singh Dhankhar said over phone from Sydney.
“The pre-registrations for members of community organisations has now closed, and the
registration for general public will open Oct 28,” said Ramyavaran Ramaswamy, one of the IACF organisers, adding “those interested in attending the event should register for the general admission lottery at www.pmvisit.org”.
The event will also feature a cultural show to show the historical connection of Australia and India.
According to Dhankhar, while initially planning for Modi’s Australian tour, it was thought that the Brisbane visit for the G20 summit, the parliament address in Canberra, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott-hosted banquet at the Melbourne Cricket Ground would be enough.
“It was only after learning about such a huge interest from Indians in Sydney that the Indian PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) realised how much significance the Sydney visit could hold for the Indian diaspora at large,” he said.
Based on some recent research, the aboriginal people in Australia have some Indian connection and to establish that, “we want to showcase the historical connection India and Australia share”, Dhankhar said.
“Recent genealogical research reveal that aboriginal people share the same ancestory as many Indians do. This would be a great platform to show that connection and strengthen the bond between Indian and Australia,” he added.
Meanwhile, in appreciation of Narendra Modi’s humble beginnings, over 200 fans of the Indian prime minister will travel 870 km by a special train dubbed “Modi Express” from Melbourne to Sydney for the diaspora event Nov 17.
Carrying 220 Modi fans, the four-carriage train decorated with tricolour balloons will depart from Melbourne’s Southern Cross station for Sydney at 8.30 p.m. Nov 16.
IACF has partnered “with hundreds of communities, social, religious, and linguistic organisations that represent the incredible diversity and pluralism that defines India and 300,000 Indian Australians” to make the event a success, said Nihal Agar, the IACF president.