As a longstanding friend of India, Australia joins wholeheartedly in its celebration of independence and extends our warm congratulations to the people of India.
While this year’s celebrations will be different and many of the traditional gatherings will not take place, we can all draw strength from the values that our countries share.
As I said during the visit to Australia of President Kovind: “Our cultures might be different, but we believe in similar things. We believe of the supremacy of the ballot-box in our national life; in the rule of law; in institutions that safeguard rights; and the responsibility of free people to build a better world.”
It is because of our shared values, interests and objectives that Prime Minister Modi and I announced the historic elevation of bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in June this year.
Our partnership is geared for the common good of our region and the global community, and this will be critical as we work to overcome the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deep friendship between Australia and India is about more than trade and diplomacy. Founded on bharosa (trust) and samman (respect) – it is a friendship with depth, and marked by democracy, defence cooperation, diaspora and dosti (mateship).
It was Australia’s second Prime Minister Alfred Deakin who best expressed the hope we have for our bilateral relationship when he wrote “the distance which separates us…is being steadily diminished between us, year by year.” And so it is to this day.
We know people are the living bridge between our countries: as students; skilled workers; or joining family, people of Indian heritage have enriched this country. India is now our biggest source of migrants and their presence has contributed to Australia becoming the most successful multicultural nation on earth.
May the ties between our countries continue to deepen. I wish you all a Happy Independence Day!