In Sydney, Modi Wows Diaspora, Aussie Politicos

  • In an encore of his thunderous Madison Square Gardens performance in New York, Prime Minister Narendra Modi en thralled the strong Indian diaspora and senior Australian politicians alike at Sydney's packed Allphones Arena
  • Addressing a frenzied audience of around 21,000 people who kept chanting “Modi, Modi“ throughout his 90-minute speech, the PM sought to woo the NRI community as he announced a two-month dead line for the pending merger of OCI and PIO status.
  • He also assured Australian tourists of visa-on-arrival facility in a speech laced with analogies drawn from cricket, love for which binds the two countries together.
  • Before he walked up the podium to a deafening roar from the audience, many of whom were playing drums, Modi shook hands with former Australian cricketer Brett Lee and veteran umpire Simon Tau-fel.
  • PM said, referring to his government's efforts to discard laws considered obsolete :Let's open the windows and allow fresh air to come in.
  • He added that while the earlier government was happy making new laws, he was “happier“ getting rid of them.
  • Visibly touched by the boisterous reception, Modi said he was honoured and humbled and that he would never forget this day.
  • Modi, the first Indian PM to visit Australia in 28 years said:I know that behind this affection lies expectations. Yes, we want to create the India you are dreaming of.This welcome, this respect, this enthusiasm, I dedicate it to the people of India.
  • Modi said: I've come to assure that you will never have to wait for 28 years again.
  • Modi announced that his government was working to facilitate visa-on-arrival for Australian tourists and said the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) status will be merged ahead of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to be held from January 7 in Ahmedabad.
  • Modi had announced merger of PIO and OCI during his visit to the US in September but had not given a timeline then.
  • The PM also referred to economic reforms unveiled by his government and said India had become an attractive destination for investment.
  • He also said FDI in railways had been hiked to 100% and hoped that Australian companies would invest in creating rail infrastructure in the country.
  • Modi said on the basis of his experience of the last six months, he could see no reason why the aspirations of millions of Indians could not be fulfilled.
  • He referred to Swami Vivekananda’s dream of seeing Mother India as a ‘Vishva Guru’ once again, and said he believed that dream would be a reality.