The PM is scheduled to address a community event to celebrate the country’s dynamic, diverse Indian diaspora, on May 23. Indians are the second-largest diaspora community in Australia after the British, with 673,000 Indian-born citizens living in the country of 26 million.
The PM will also hold talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Wednesday.
Ahead of Modi’s arrival, PM Albanese said in a statement: “Australia and India share a commitment to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Together we have an important role to play in supporting this vision,” he said, amid China’s aggressive behaviour in the region as well as its efforts to expand its influence.
The PM is visiting Australia from May 22-24 as a guest of the Australian government.
During his foreign visits to the Asia-Pacific region, PM Modi has made an indelible impression of a resurgent India.
Here are the highlights from his three-nation tour so far:
G7 summit in Japan
In the first leg of his trip, the PM visited Hiroshima from May 19-21 for the G7 summit during which he spoke of the challenges facing the globe including food, fertiliser and energy security. He also held bilateral talks with several leaders and also attended the third in-person Quad meeting.
The PM also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and inaugurated a bust of Mahatma Gandhi.
In an address at a G7 session in Hiroshima, PM Modi said all countries must respect the UN Charter, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and called for raising voices together against unilateral attempts to change the status quo.
The PM’s comments came against the backdrop of the lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
PM Modi also invoked Buddha and said there is no such problem in the modern age, whose solution cannot be found in his teachings.
First meeting with Zelenskyy
During a series of bilateral talks with global leaders, PM Modi also met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima and assured him to resolve the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv.
This was the first meeting between the two leaders since the Russia-Ukraine conflict that began on February 24 last year.
PM Modi tweeted, “Met with the President Zelenskyy in Hiroshima. Expressed our clear support for dialogue and diplomacy to find a way forward. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.”
Third in-person meeting of Quad
The third in-person Quad meeting was held on the sidelines of the G7 summit after its scheduled sitting in Sydney was cancelled following change in plans of US president Joe Biden.
During the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) meeting with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, PM Modi said: “There is no doubt at all about the fact that the Indo-Pacific region is the engine for global trade, innovation and development. We agree that the security and success of the Indo-Pacific is important, not just for this region, but, for the entire world.”
PM Modi said that Quad has emerged as a key platform to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and the coalition is moving forward on the basis of constructive agenda and democratic principles.
First visit to Papua New Guinea
From Japan, the PM traveled to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where he hosted the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation on May 22 jointly with PM James Marape.
In an exemplary gesture of respect, Marape touched the feet of PM Narendra Modi when he arrived in the island nation.
Papua New Guinea has a tradition of not welcoming anyone post sunset but PM Modi was given a gun salute as well as a red carpet welcome and was personally greeted by Marape.
The PM’s visit to PNG was the first ever by any Indian prime minister.
The FIPIC Summit saw the participation from leaders of 14 countries. Normally all of them rarely converge together due to connectivity and other issues. PIC includes Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“My Papua New Guinea visit has been a historic one. I will greatly cherish the affection received among the people of this wonderful nation. I also had the opportunity to interact with respected FIPIC leaders and discuss ways to deepen ties with their respective nations,” PM Modi tweeted.
While in PNG, PM Modi along with Marape released the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ in the Tok Pisin language to bring the Indian thought and culture closer to the people of this southwestern Pacific nation.
Tok Pisin is the official language of Papua New Guinea.
Thirukkural, a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economic matters, and love, is written by Poet Thiruvalluvar.
“Indian diaspora keeping alive connect with the motherland! PM@narendramodi & PM James Marape launched a translation of the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ in the Tok Pisin language of Papua New Guinea,” the ministry of external affairs tweeted.
Co-authored by Subha Sasindran and Governor Sasindran Muthuvel of West New Britain Province, the book brings Indian thought and culture closer to the people of Papua New Guinea, it said.
Island nation bestows honour on PM
PM Modi was also conferred with the highest honours of Papua New Guinea and Fiji, in a rare recognition for a non-resident in the two Pacific island nations.
In a special ceremony at the Government House, Sir Bob Dadae, Governor-General of PNG, conferred PM Modi with the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL), the MEA said in a statement. This is the highest civilian award in the country and recipients of the award are titled “Chief”, it said.said.
PNG conferred the award to PM Modi for championing the cause of unity of Pacific Island countries and spearheading the cause of Global South. Very few non-residents of PNG have received this award.
Indian cuisine and millets found a prominent place at the banquet lunch hosted by PM Modi for the leaders attending FIPIC.
The lunch included Khandvi, a popular delicacy from PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat; millet and vegetable soup made with Kodo millet and highland vegetables served with cornbread; malai kofta (cottage cheese and vegetable balls simmered in aromatic Indian rich kofta curry); Rajasthani ragi gatta curry, prepared with finger millet and gram flour dumplings cooked in sour gravy; vegetable Kolhapuri (a mix vegetable cooked with traditional Indian onion-tomato gravy) and dal panchmel (special lentils mix cooked in Mewar style).
Millet biryani, vegetable biryani made with nutrient-rich barnyard millet and nannu fulka, bread made with wheat flour were also served.
The menu also included desserts and beverages like masala chaas, drink made with creamy yoghurt and Indian spices; paan kulfi, betel leaves flavoured milk-based Indian dessert and malpua with rabdi, Indian sweet pancake.
(With inputs from agencies)