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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cricket diplomacy at Ahmedabad - Aussie Press hails Modiji as Global leader

It is about Ahmedabad – and not fully about Cricket though the events relate to the Cricket stadium at Gujarat.

Starting with a Cricket trivia -  back in Oct 1956, Aussies toured under Ian Johnson for the first time to India and played the first test at Madras.  Australia won by an innings and five runs. The Australians found the turf pitch much more to their liking, and comfortably won the first Test to be played between the two countries in India.    Ray Lindwal had a 7 wicket haul in the 2nd essay.

Today at Ahmedabad, it was a traditional, testing day of Test match cricket,   Usman Khawaja raised the standards and steered Australia to a commanding position.  Australia managed only the fourth opening stand of 50 or more for a visiting side in India in the last five years. Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith batted through the middle session, the first wicketless session of the series, the most comfortable any batting side has been in a session against India in India in the last 10 years. Khawaja scored a fine, patient hundred, only the sixth against India in India in the last five years.

Modiji is hailed by Australian Press too – Today Sydney Morning Herald writes – a  spectacular morning at the cricket has cleared the way for deeper defence ties between Australia and India after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on a golden chariot at the fourth Test in Ahmedabad. The two leaders circled the field at the vast stadium named after the Indian prime minister as a crowd of up to 50,000 people roared before the cricket began. n a priceless moment of soft power for Australia using the common bond of cricket, Modi arranged for Albanese to be greeted like a hero with a deafening noise from the stands. While people may have cheered both leaders, however, they chanted Modi’s name as the custom-made float lapped the stadium.

Albanese and Modi, who will hold formal talks in New Delhi on Friday, spoke to Australian captain Steve Smith and Indian captain Rohit Sharma before the match and stood with the national teams while the anthems were played. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese started his four-day India trip from the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, where he met the Indian and Australian cricket teams team along with the Indian Prime Minister.

Albanese's visit is special because it is the first trip by an Australian PM to India in six years, and it comes on the heels of Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which started in December 2022. The last time an Australian PM set his foot on Indian soil was by Malcom Turnbull in 2017.  The Australian PM is accompanied by Australia's Minister of Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farell, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, and other senior officials.

The main reason why Australian PM is in India is to deal with a complex geopolitical scenario, majorly involving China, an opponent with whom India has not had good relations in the past few years due border disputes.  "Our Prime Ministers are meeting at a time of global complexities where geo-strategic competition is causing disruptions," Australian envoy to India Barry O'Farrell told Bloomberg.  The primary motive of Australian PM to India is to deepen the business and defence ties with Asia's third largest economy in the face of rising strategic competition from China.

Australian PM Anthony Albanese this day  mounted a fighter aircraft onboard India`s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, in Mumbai. The Australian PM sat inside the fighter jet while officers of the Indian Navy shared details and information on India`s biggest aircraft carrier. "I`m very honoured to be here today on the newly commissioned Indian-designed and manufactured INS Vikrant, my visit reflects my government`s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia`s approach to India both Pacific and beyond. Whilst here, I have had the great pleasure of meeting with the talented and highly professional men and women of India`s Navy. what lifts defence relationships to new levels is the resolve and foresight of those who see the relationship not just for what it is, but for what it could be. One such person is my friend, Prime Minister Modi," the Australian PM said while interacting with media persons after climbing onboard INS Vikrant.

He thanked PM Modi for his "dedication to driving forward our defence and security partnership which is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together".

Proud of our Nation and our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modiji is a true global leader.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Mar 2023. 

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