October 11, 2023
India Foundation hosted a lunch reception on October 11, 2023, in the honor of the Australian parliamentary delegation led by H.E Sue Lines, Hon. President, Australian Senate, and H.E Milton Dick, Hon Speaker, House of Representatives, Australia. Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh, Hon Deputy Speaker, Rajya Sabha, India, graced the reception as the Chief Guest. Dr Ram Madhav, President, India Foundation, delivered the Welcome Address. The Concluding Remarks were delivered by Vice Admiral (Retd.) Shekhar Sinha, Chairman, Board of Trustees, India Foundation.
Dr Ram Madhav, President, India Foundation, initiated the lunch reception by welcoming the Australian parliamentary delegation to Bharat. He began his remarks by paying condolence to the people of Israel, the victims of Hamas terror. He spoke on the India-Australia relations since the last few years charting a new course being partners in bilaterals and multilaterals like in the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue). He spoke about the strategic location of Australia and its reach both in the Indian and Pacific Ocean, allocating a free and inclusive region for all the neighbouring stakeholder countries. He stated about the historical India-Australia friendship which has been existential since we attained independence. He also spoke about strong bilateral trade and defense relations and the shift amongst the Indian students preferring Australia (which was exclusively westwards earlier) for their academics.
H.E Sue Lines, Hon President, Australian Senate, shared her remarks by mentioning about the amazing hospitality, generosity and warmth she received on her first visit to India. She spoke about the importance of the bilateral relation that India and Australia share and shared about her native land being from the Indian Ocean side of Australia. She was pleased to be in the “largest and the best democracy in the world”. She spoke on the establishment of Centre for Australia-India Relations as a part of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government, underpinned by the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” announced by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and the then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2020 acting as center of gravity for close engagements between India and Australia. She also stated on pushing for greater business engagements and how India’s focus on the Pacific region has been rewarding to Australia. She concluded by mentioning the importance of think tanks in improving the democracy of the nation.
H.E Milton Dick, Hon Speaker, House of Representatives, Australia, initiated his speech displaying his affection towards India by using the phrase “either you love India or love India”. He spoke at the reception signifying the deep and enduring relationship between the two countries and the Australian pride with respect to camaraderie, shared values and mutual respect with India being the binding force between the two. He stated that India has been the most important Pacific partner and the only Asian country to be Australia’s oldest diplomatic partner and Australia was the first country to establish its High Commission in New Delhi in 1944. Speaking about Queensland, he said that the place represents the most diversified community in Australia where around one million Australians consider India as their homeland and Australia having a rich Indian diaspora mainly students and academicians who consider Australia as their home. He called India a superpower of the 21st century. He also jokingly mentioned that Australia had let India win in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 due to deep friendship that both the nations share. He expressed Australia’s enthusiasm for hosting the 7th Indian Ocean Conference in 2024, a flagship event of India Foundation. He concluded his remarks by saying that both the countries are not partners but friends and have a shared history of values and aspirations that bind both of them towards a brighter future. He concluded by introducing the Australian parliamentary delegation.
Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh, Hon Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, India, appreciated the efforts of India Foundation to organise the lunch reception in honour of the Australian parliamentary delegation and he was honoured to be a part of the same. He spoke about working closely on capacity building in legislatures and cyber security with Hon. Milton Dick as a part of the Inter Parliamentary Union. He specially mentioned the Australian government’s approach towards the indigenous population of Australia. He also spoke on emerging democratic relations in security and trade relations and also the passion for cricket. He encouraged the delegation to travel more around the country and familiarize themselves with the diversity of the country.
Vice Admiral (Retd) Shekhar Sinha, Chairman, Board of Trustees, India Foundation, concluded the lunch reception by showing gratitude on behalf of India Foundation to the Australian parliamentary delegation led by H.E Sue Lines, Hon. President, Australian Senate, and H.E Milton Dick, Hon Speaker, House of Representatives, Australia and Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh, Hon Deputy Speaker, Rajya Sabha, India. He specifically emphasised on military and naval maritime relations which are stronger than ever. He said that there are more similarities in equipments and platforms that India and Australia use in fighting war and it should move beyond being inter-operable to inter-changeable.