India, Australia share “special bond”: Modi

Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi also unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Brisbane in his first bilateral engagement.

Highlighting that India and Australia share a “special bond”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said relations between countries can prosper fully if states and cities are involved in international engagements.

Starting his bilateral visit to Australia on Sunday from Brisbane, Mr. Modi said that in the India-Australia partnership, Queensland had been at forefront for its contribution in powering India with its resources and research.

“We truly welcome the engagement between states and cities. That is why I am also very keen to involve states in India in our international engagements,” Mr. Modi said at a reception held here in his honour by Campbell Newman, premier of the Australian state of Queensland.

“Brisbane has emerged as centre of advanced technology. Hyderabad is known as Cyberabad. It is natural that two cities have sister-relationship. Relations between countries can prosper fully if we truly bring the engagement between states and cities,” Mr. Modi said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi also unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Brisbane in his first bilateral engagement.

“There is a special bond between India and Australia. This is a symbol of values we share, the ideals we aspire to and the world we wish to build,” he said in reference to Gandhi’s statue.

Mr. Modi lauded the partnership between India and Queensland in sectors ranging from technology and research to supplying resources to India.

“Several Queensland business delegations are visiting India this year. It has emerged as major source of resources to power India’s development. It is also a major destination for Indian investment. You have supported partnership in education and skills. Queensland research universities are collaborating closely with India,” Mr. Modi said.

“The credit for the strong partnership goes to Premier Campbell Newman and Lord Mayor. Your mission to India is very productive and brought businesses and our people closer,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the gathering before unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Roma Street Parklands in Brisbane on Sunday.

The Prime Minister also said this is the time to forge partnership with India because of the “welcoming environment”.

“This is an exciting moment in Indian filled with optimism and desire for change and confidence to achieve it driven by the energy and enterprise of our youth.

“This is time to forge partnership in India. You will find a welcoming environment that makes it possible and smooth,” Mr. Modi said.

“Joint research (between India and research institutes in Queensland) will help farmers in dry areas and contribute to food security in India. Queensland fruits and vegetables are really good. There is a lot of potential to work together,” Mr. Modi said, adding that Queensland and India can learn a lot from each other in field of tourism.

Emphasising the role of Indian diaspora in strengthening the relationship between the two countries, the Prime Minister said, “They breed friendship and understanding” between the two countries.

He also congratulated Brisbane for hosting the G20 Summit.

“You did and outstanding job. I know you have often lived in the shadow of Melbourne and Sydney. This week you have shown the world what a great city and host you are,” Mr. Modi said.