India-Australia relations on a high with President Kovind’s visit

A series of memorandums of understanding  between  Australia  and  India  covering trade, mining and education  were signed  during the visit to Australia by President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind

By Vijay Badhwar

There were many checks as invitees to the reception for Indian President Ram Nath Kovind   entered Shangri-La Hotel, security swishing detectors outside the heavily embroidered sarees and dark suits, but when the President and his entourage entered the large hall with everyone standing to attention, he looked so humble – like an uncle or an elder brother next door, that the heavy air disappeared in an instance.

The dignitaries sat briefly in the first row to watch a classical dance performance and then it was straight to business as the Indian High Commissioner, Dr A M Gondane, welcomed the President with the remarks that Australia-India relations were underpinned by commonalities of multiculturalism that were embedded in the fabric with Indian Diaspora shaping the relations.

Mr Kovind’s response right from the beginning was uplifting for the community as he said his first state visit to Australia was also to meet the community, which he did every time he visited a foreign country. “It’s a special and warm feeling,” he said.

President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind met Governor General of Australia Sir Peter John Cosgrove, AK, MC and his wife

The President paid his respects at the ANZAC War Memorial in Sydney. This memorial was built as a tribute to Australian soldiers who did service in World War I. Brave Indian soldiers fought alongside their Australian comrades in WW I, including on the beaches of Gallipoli  

The Indian President’s Australia visit followed the visit to India by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove in March. Mr Ram Nath Kovind’s main agenda for the visit was to further India-Australia relations but his several engagements included a visit to the War Memorial, unveiling Mahatama Gandhi’s statue in Jubilee Park in Parramatta, even a visit to the MCG to watch India play Australia in the second T20 cricket match.

The Indian President remembered the more than 100-year history of Indian engagement in Australia in a reference to the large Sikh community in Woolgoolga who still work in banana plantations. “It is the inclusive culture of the Indian professionals and hard work that is showing them in Australia as knowledge partners,” he said.

Mr Kovind cited the progress India was making in building infrastructure and 100 tech cities. “We are keen to leverage on Australian technology. Australians should contribute their ideas to play a part in this engagement.”

The President especially invited Indian Diaspora’s outreach to become cultural partners.

Then it was time to manage Facebook fans and they were managed well as whole rows lined up for their turn to stand behind the President to be photographed which could be accessed on the Indian High Commission website.







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