Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dedicated the warm welcome, respect and enthusiasm he received at the Allphones Arena in Olympic Park in Sydney to the 1.25 billion people of India.
"This welcome; this respect; this enthusiasm I dedicate it to the people of India. These incredible scenes and this massive reception in Sydney will galvanize India," said the Prime Minister
Modi's Top Quotes at Allphones Arena
In what seemed like a repeat of the rock star reception he received at the Madison Square Garden arena in New York, Prime Minister Modi was greeted by wild applause and cheering from a 16,000 strong-crowd throughout his speech.
Modi assured a visa on arrival facility for Australian tourists and announced a two-month deadline for the long-pending merger of OCI and PIO status to woo the Indian diaspora from whom he sought support for his ambitious Clean India campaign.
Modi took a dig at the previous governments saying while they were happy to make laws he was "happier to remove" them.
"Let's open the windows let fresh air come in," Modi said referring to his government's efforts to weed out obsolete laws.
Modi announced that his government was working on 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 the 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 prime minister also referred to economic reforms unveiled by his government and said India has become an attractive destination for investment.
He also said FDI in Railways has been hiked to 100 per cent and hoped that Australian companies will invest in creating rail infrastructure in the country.
Prime Minister Modi pointed out that although it takes just one day to come to Australia, it had taken an Indian prime minister 28 long years to arrive, and promised that it would never happen again.
"Leave at night and you'll reach Australia in the morning. But it took 28 years for the PM of India to come here. My friends in Australia, I assure you... you won't have to wait for 28 more years for such a visit to take place," he pointed out.
The prime minister also praised the scenic beauty of Sydney and talked about the shared bonds that bring India and Australia together.
"Sydney is a beautiful city. Australia is a beautiful country. Neither Australia nor India can live without cricket. Cricket has joined us, but before that, we had a cultural history that had linked us. Australia and India share common values, democracy," he said.
He also explained that had it not been for democracy he would not have been present at the Allphones Arena today.
"The world looks at democratic countries with pride. Had it not been for a democracy would I be here? Let's understand this strength of our democracy," Modi added.
He also shared that he felt fortunate to be the first prime minister of India who was born in independent India, and hence, felt a greater responsibility.
"We must pledge that we will live for the country and we will struggle for the country. We did not get the opportunity to die for the nation or spend our youth in jail. But we can surely live for the nation, that is something that everyone has the opportunity to do," he said.
The PM called upon Indians across the world to convert the atmosphere of hope and optimism into a reality of meeting the expectations and aspirations of people in India.
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. “Do you share the dream,” he asked the cheering crowd.
Modi said that he feels a greater sense of responsibility as he is the first PM born in independent India.
“We did not have the fortune to fight for the country’s independence. We could not die for India. But we can live for India. So we will live and struggle for India. Today 125 crore Indians share that dream,” he said.
“It took 28 years for an Indian PM to make the few hours journey to Australia. Now you will not have to wait 28 years,” Modi said.
He also highlighted the values of democracy and the love for cricket that India and Australia share.
Modi exhorted people to recognise the strength of India’s democracy. “Let us now do all we can for India’s benefit. And then India will work for the benefit of mankind,” he said.
“Governments cannot make a country. People make a country,” he said.
The PM also stressed on the Clean India campaign saying that more tourists would come if the country was cleaner.
He also asked the Indian diaspora to extend their support to the campaign and said they can contribute significantly in developing the villages they come from. “I request you to contribute. God has given you so much.”
Modi said while some people dream of doing only big things he was interested in doing “small things” like building toilets and ensuring cleanliness.
“Illness is a big burden on the poor. There is no greater service to the poor than focusing on cleanliness,” he said adding “I see no reason why India should stay behind. It is decided we will move ahead.”