Modi gets bigger welcome than Bruce Springsteen, says Australian PM Anthony Albanese

During an event in Sydney, Albanese expressed his admiration for Modi in enthusiastic terms, going so far as to draw a comparison between the Indian leader and the iconic American singer Bruce Springsteen.

Modi, Albanese
Sharing enthiasm for mutual interests: PM Modi meets his Australian counterpart Albanese in Sydney

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Tuesday (May 23) that Narendra Modi gets a “rock star reception” wherever he goes. Albanese was effusive in his praise of Modi at an event in Sydney and compared his Indian counterpart to American legendary singer Bruce Springsteen.

Welcoming Modi to a roaring 21,000-strong crowd at the Qudos Bank Arena here, one of the city’s biggest indoor stadiums, Albanese pitched for greater cooperation between India and Australia. He gave Modi a bear hug when the Indian Prime Minister arrived at the venue to address the audience before introducing him as someone who gets a rock star reception wherever he goes.

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“The last time I saw someone on this stage was Bruce Springsteen and he did not get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got. Prime Minister Modi is the boss,” Albanese said at the event. He thanked his “dear friend” Modi for bringing the spirit of the world’s biggest democracy to Australia, saying he had helped “make our democracy stronger and more inclusive”.

Albanese described the cheering audience, made up mainly of members of the Australian–Indian community, as friends and said he was proud they had made Australia their home.
You make our nation and our shared communities better. You make Australia stronger, he said.

Playing up India and Australia’s connections, Albanese said he wanted to see the relationship between the two countries continue to grow, including in the business and education sectors. We want to see more connections. More Australian and Indian students living and studying in each other’s countries, and bringing those experiences home, he said.

More business leaders and artists and families sharing your experiences and your knowledge and your ideas, he added.

Albanese said that he was reminded of his earlier visits to India as a 28-year-old when he returned to the country earlier this year as prime minister. It was a trip full of unforgettable moments: celebrating Holi in Gujarat, laying a wreath for the great Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi, and doing a lap of the incredible stadium at Ahmedabad on Day 1 of the fourth test, he said.

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Everywhere I went, I felt that deep sense of connection between the people of Australia and the people of India. It’s a warmth I felt when I backpacked around India for 5 weeks in 1991. If you want to understand India, travel by train and video bus, he said.

Albanese and Modi on Tuesday night announced the inaugural advisory board for the Centre for Australia–India Relations. The federal government had announced its plans to establish earlier this year. Headquartered in Parramatta, the centre’s mission is to work across government, industry, academia and the community to further foster ties between the two countries and encourage businesses to seize the opportunities of their economic partnership, reported.

Albanese further said that the centre’s location in western Sydney was a testament to the vitality of the Indian–Australian experience, giving a shout-out to the new Parramatta Lord Mayor Sameer Pandey. Pandey was elected to the position just a day earlier, becoming the first Lord Mayor in Australia to be born in India.

Modi’s trip to Australia comes after he met Albanese, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima on the weekend.

(With agency inputs)