‘Modi is the boss’: Australian leader gives India’s prime minister a rock star welcome
By Rhea Mogul, CNN
24 May 2023
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese heaped praise on Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, likening him to American rock star Bruce Springsteen in a gushing introductory speech at a stadium on Tuesday.
Modi is making his first visit to Sydney in nine years as he gears up to contest national elections next year – and as Australia looks to build economic bridges with the world’s most populous market at a time when relations with another Asian giant, China, have soured.
Standing on stage at the Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday, a sprawling entertainment venue in the city’s Olympic Park, Albanese played emcee and warm up act.
“The last time I saw someone on the stage here was Bruce Springsteen, and he didn’t get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got,” Albanese said.
“You have brought the spirit of the world’s biggest democracy to Australia,” Albanese said of his “dear friend,” adding the Indian leader has helped strengthen Australia’s democracy.
“Prime Minister Modi is the boss!” he added, to thunderous applause from a crowd dominated by Australia’s Indian diaspora.
Originally planned as a summit for leaders from the Quad, which includes the United States and Japan, Modi’s trip to Australia comes as Canberra is trying to bolster its relationship with New Delhi in a bid to grow economic ties and reinforce their strategic partnership, as the West attempts to thwart the rise of an increasingly assertive China.
“In the language of cricket, our ties have entered the T20 mode,” Modi said during a joint appearance with Albanese. “Our democratic values are the foundation of our ties. Our relations are based on mutual trust and respect. The Indian community in Australia is a living bridge between our countries.”