PM Modi meets prominent Australians, asks them to strengthen relations | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi meets prominent Australians, asks them to strengthen relations

May 23, 2023 08:39 PM IST

Mark Balla, who is known as “toilet warrior” for his efforts in the field of sanitation, said he had spoken with Modi about their shared passion for sanitation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met several prominent Australian personalities from fields as diverse as art, sanitation and science on the second day of his official visit to the country on Tuesday and held wide-ranging discussions with them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Sarah Todd, the celebrity chef in Sydney on May 23. (PTI/VIA @narendramodi)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Sarah Todd, the celebrity chef in Sydney on May 23. (PTI/VIA @narendramodi)

Among those Modi met were Brian P. Schmidt, a Nobel laureate in physics and vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, Mark Balla, a business specialist and activist for humanitarian issues, aboriginal artist Danielle Mate Sullivan, international chef and restaurateur Sarah Todd, Toby Walsh, chief scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Institute of the University of New South Wales, sociologist Salvatore Babones and leading singer Guy Theodore Sebastian.

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Modi, who is in Australia on the last leg of a three-nation tour that has also taken him to Japan and Papua New Guinea, congratulated the personalities on their achievements and called on them to help strengthen India-Australia relations.

Schroder, the chief executive of the pension fund AustralianSuper, said after the meeting that Modi understands business and this was “very encouraging”. He said AustralianSuper has invested in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and has had a good experience with investments in the country.

Modi highlighted India’s credentials as one of the most preferred major economies for foreign investments and invited AustralianSuper to partner with India.

Gina Rinehart, the executive chairperson of Hancock Prospecting Group who also met Modi, said the potential for business between the two countries is huge. Australia needs to work harder to develop its relations with India, which has been able to attract investments from some 60 countries, she said.

At his meeting with Rinehart, Modi highlighted transformative reforms and initiatives being taken in India and invited her to partner in technology, investment and skilling in the mining and minerals sector.

Mark Balla, who is known as “toilet warrior” for his efforts in the field of sanitation, said he had spoken with Modi about their shared passion for sanitation. Modi later said in a tweet: “Mark Balla has done commendable work on a topic I am very passionate about – access to sanitation. People know him as a ‘Toilet Warrior’.”

Nobel laureate Schmidt said he had discussed ways for India and Australia to work together in research and science. “India’s ability to do world-class science has become just an order of magnitude higher because it is investing in scientists and equipment,” he said.

Modi also met leading industrialist Andrew Forrest, executive chairman of the Fortescue Metals Group and Fortescue Future Industries, and welcomed the firm’s plans to work with Indian companies in green hydrogen. Modi emphasised India’s renewable energy plans and highlighted reforms and initiatives such as the “Green Hydrogen Mission”.

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