A community reception was held at Qudos Bank Arena on the 23rd of May, hosted by the Indian Australian Diaspora Foundation (IADF). The event featured the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as well as short speeches by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns. Other notable dignitaries in attendance were Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
The crowd of over 20,000 people steadily filled throughout the day. Those who arrived around 2pm were treated to traditional Indian dances in the courtyard outside the stadium. The scene brimmed with people representing the pride of their native land, waving Indian flags and wearing clothing ranging from traditional Indian attire to jerseys representing the beloved Indian cricket team. Security was heavy on the day due to the momentous event but was successful in ensuring a positive day without incidents.
People slowly began entering the stadium around 4pm as a large number of Indian dance groups successively went on stage to showcase their specific dances, each significant to Indian history and culture. We spoke to one of the dancers after the evening had concluded, and she explained that she and her group had practiced dedicatedly for a month before the performance at Qudos Bank Arena. She expressed her gladness to have performed at an event featuring Prime Minister Modi. The dances ranged from traditional dances to religious ones, as well as those commonly performed at Indian celebrations. In between each performance, the MCs of the evening continuously praised each group and further hyped the crowd for Modi’s arrival, resulting in thunderous applause whenever Modi’s name was mentioned.
After the dance performances concluded, a video was played on the stadium screens, showcasing India’s domestic and global successes, as well as its rapid development. Then came the main event. Shown on the big screens, the audience could see Prime Minister Albanese greeting Prime Minister Modi as he exited his vehicle, which elicited a loud applause from the audience. As the two walked on the red carpet, it didn’t take long for them to reach the stadium, causing a shattering applause as the two men stepped onto the main stage.
Once the two were on the main stage, the national anthems of both nations were played, and Premier Minns joined them afterwards. Minns was the first of the three to speak, beginning his speech by extending a welcome to PM Modi. He praised the large number of Indian diaspora in Australia for the culture they bring and their dedication and respect for their native culture. He concluded by wishing everyone an enjoyable night before the two Prime Ministers unveiled a plaque for ‘the foundation stone of the Little India Gateway’ to be built in Harris Park, symbolizing the friendship between Australia and India.
PM Albanese then began his speech by praising PM Modi and the enduring friendship between the two men, as well as acknowledging the warmth and love shown by the crowd that night. The PM also praised the Indian diaspora in Australia, calling them ‘the lifeblood of the relationship that India and Australia share’ and recognizing their contributions to the community. After enthusiastically welcoming PM Modi to the stage, he concluded his speech, and the crowd once again erupted into thunderous applause as the leader of the 7th largest geographic nation on Earth took the stage.
PM Modi’s speech, mostly in Hindi with small bits of English, covered a wide array of topics, similar to the video shown before his arrival. He praised India’s achievements in various sectors, expressing hope and optimism for the future. He showcased his comedic skills by telling jokes that had the audience laughing with extreme delight. He discussed the strong relations between the two nations and the growing economy of India. He also highlighted India’s generosity, providing COVID vaccines for free as the world worked rapidly to vaccinate the population. This act of generosity touched the Indian people deeply, and they expressed great pride in their country’s benevolence.
After concluding his speech by thanking everyone, PM Modi exited the stage alongside PM Albanese, marking the end of a day of celebration not just for PM Modi but also for India’s traditions, culture, and its people.
Overall, the community reception held at Qudos Bank Arena was a resounding success, with a diverse and enthusiastic crowd showcasing their pride in their Indian heritage. The event featured engaging speeches by political leaders and captivating dance performances that highlighted the rich history and culture of India. The presence of notable dignitaries and the unveiling of the symbolic Little India Gateway plaque further strengthened the bond between Australia and India.
The speeches by PM Albanese and PM Modi conveyed messages of friendship, mutual respect, and the significance of the Indian diaspora in Australia. PM Modi’s speech, delivered with charisma and humor, celebrated India’s accomplishments while emphasizing the nation’s generosity in the face of global challenges.
The event not only honored PM Modi but also served as a platform to recognize and appreciate the contributions of the Indian community in Australia. The vibrant atmosphere, filled with patriotic displays and heartfelt applause, exemplified the unity and pride shared by both nations.
In conclusion, the community reception at Qudos Bank Arena successfully celebrated the Indian Australian diaspora, showcased India’s cultural heritage, and fostered stronger ties between Australia and India. The event served as a testament to the vibrant multiculturalism of Australia and the enduring friendship between the two nations.