Australian PM attends Holi celebration in Ahmedabad, visits Sabarmati Ashram

New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had a taste of the festival of colours Holi at Gandhinagar on Wednesday evening as he arrived in India on a four-day state visit. Earlier, he visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and paid a floral tribute at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a tweet said:

“A special #Holi in Ahmedabad with Australian PM @AlboMP.

“PM Albanese arrived in Ahmedabad on his first State Visit to India earlier today.

“PM @AlboMP also visited Sabarmati Ashram and paid his respects to Mahatma Gandhi.”

PM Albanese in tweets said the message of Holi of renewal through the triumph of good over evil is an enduring reminder for everyone.

“Honoured to celebrate Holi in Ahmedabad, India. Holi’s message of renewal through the triumph of good over evil is an enduring reminder for all of us.

“No matter what your faith is or where you’ve come from—we celebrate and value what unites us,” he posted.

On his visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, he tweeted:

“A true privilege to pay homage to Gandhi’s legacy at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.”

The Australian PM was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, who explained the significance of the Ashram to him.

PM Albanese in a message at Sabarmati Ashram Visitor’s Book, wrote: “It is a great honour to visit to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi whose philosophy and life values continue to inspire the world today. We have much to learn from his example.”

At the Raj Bhavan, the Australian PM was treated to a celebration of Holi festival with colours smeared on him and flower petals showered on him and his delegation. He also witnessed a performance by Rathwa tribal folk dancers from Central Gujarat performing at the Holi event.

Earlier in the evening on his arrival at Ahmedabad, PM Albanese in a tweet termed his welcome an incredible one, and the beginning of an important trip for Australia-India ties.

“An incredible welcome to Ahmedabad, India. The beginning of an important trip for Australia-India relations,” he tweeted.

Ahead of his arrival at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said that India is eagerly awaiting the Australian prime minister’s arrival.

“India eagerly awaits your arrival! Looking forward to productive deliberations to further the India-Australia friendship.”

PM Albanese is leading a delegation of 27 people, including Senator Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Madeleine King MP, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia.

The delegation includes representatives from sectors including mining, energy, aviation, education and finance.

The discussions between the two sides are set to focus on renewable energy, defence co-operation and education ties.

Deakin University is opening a new campus in Gujarat and become the first foreign university to set up a physical campus in India. PM Albanese is expected to make a formal announcement of this educational collaboration.

The announcement is to be attended by Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson, Deakin University’s chancellor and vice-chancellor besides other senior officials.

Deakin will invest an initial $4 million for 100 students to study cyber security and business analytics each year.

The University of Melbourne is also working towards a dual science degree with three Indian universities.

The Australian PM’s trip is to also focus on economic and trading ties.

Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn, who is part of the delegation, is quoted as saying that the visit is a significant opportunity to build on already strong economic ties with India being Australia’s sixth-largest trading partner and fourth-largest export market.

Hoardings and banners welcoming the Australian Prime Minister have come up in different parts of Ahmedabad city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian PM Albanese will watch day One of the fourth and final Test match of the India-Australia Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

Ahead of his visit, the Australian Prime Minister told reporters that his visit is a historic opportunity to strengthen relations with India.

Albanese who is heading a delegation of top business honchos, said: “I’m bringing a delegation of ministers and business leaders to India.”

“We have an historic opportunity to strengthen our relationship with India, at a time of extraordinary growth and dynamism in our region.

“Australia is a better place because of our large, diverse Indian-Australian community.

“This trip demonstrates our commitment to deepening our links with India, and to being a force for stability and growth in our region.”


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