During a meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo yesterday, US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese came up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a peculiar challenge. Both leaders have claimed that they are facing a torrent of requests from prominent citizens to attend events where PM Modi would be speaking.
PM Modi will interact with Australian CEOs, business leaders and interact with Indian expats at a community event in Sydney on Tuesday. In June, the PM will go to the US on a state visit following an invitation from President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The US leaders will host PM Modi for a state dinner at the White House.
According to sources, PM Albanese has said that he is unable to accommodate all the requests he has received for tickets to the community reception in Sydney. The sold-out venue has a capacity of 20,000 people but the Australian PM said he is still getting requests for tickets.
PM Albanese recalled his visit to India this year when he was welcomed by 90,000 people at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, sources said.
President Biden, presenting a similar problem to PM Modi, said, “I should take your autograph.”
“You are causing me a real problem. Next month we have a dinner for you in Washington. Everyone in the whole country wants to come. I have run out of tickets. You think I am kidding? Ask my team. I am getting phone calls from people I have never heard of before. Everyone from movie stars to relatives. You are too popular,” President Biden was quoted as saying by sources.
“Mr Prime Minister, you have made a significant impact on everything, including what we are doing in the QUAD. You also made a fundamental shift in climate change. You have influence in the Indo-Pacific. You are making a difference,” he added.
PM Modi will reach Papua New Guinea today, where he will be greeted by Prime Minister James Marape at the airport. Normally, Papua New Guinea does not give a ceremonial welcome to any leader who arrives after sunset, however, a special exception has been made for PM Modi.
The PM’s visit to Papua New Guinea is aimed to expand India’s outreach to Pacific Island nations. The Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit, which will be held in Port Moresby tomorrow, will be attended by leaders from 14 countries. This is a rare opportunity for these leaders to come together and discuss issues of common interest.
PM Modi has used his foreign visits as a vehicle to promote Indian culture. In Japan, the PM unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Hiroshima. In Papua New Guinea, he will release the Thirukkural, a classic Tamil language text in local lanaguage Tok Pisin.
The Harris Park area in Sydney’s Parramatta suburb will be officially designated as “Little India” during PM Modi’s visit to Australia.