India-Australia march together since Gallipoli

Wing Commander Umesh Upadhaya with wife Sangeeta at the ceremony

By Vijay Badhwar

The annual commemoration for Indian soldiers who joined the Allied forces in World War I is now embedded in Sydney community calendar at the site of the Cenotaph installed in Cherrybrook at the initiative of the Hindu Council of Australia. The Remembrance Day service on November 7 was moved from the outdoor location of the Cenotaph to the nearby community centre due to wet weather conditions.

The invited guests welcomed the get together after the long lockdown imposed due to Covid restrictions, and being immediately after Diwali, it was the natural yearning to meet and exchange greetings that added to a celebratory atmosphere.

Federal Member for Berowra Julian Leeser laying the wreath

All three tiers of Government – local, state and federal – were ”˜Liberally’ represented, by Hornsby Council Mayor Philip Ruddock, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and Federal Member for Berowra Julian Leeser. Also present were, Hornsby RSL president George Main and India’s Consul General Manish Gupta.

While Mr Ruddock recounted his visit to Gallipoli and graves of Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives, Julian Leeser’s speech was noteworthy as it reflected on the growing Indo-Australian relationship drawing inspiration from the historical friendship between the two nations.   He said, under comprehensive strategic partnership our officers visit and train in India and Australia and carry out exercises to build mutual confidence in the region. Malabar Exercise has been one such exercise and the recently held 2+2 dialogue between our leaders that underpins our strategic alliance.

Following religious recitations from the Bhagwad Gita and Guru Granth Sahib, guests laid wreaths and flowers to pay respects to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives, “in the name of peace and freedom,” as Mr Kean said.  

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