It almost 130 years ago that Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second Prime Minister, appreciated the potential of Australia’s relationship with India. Travelling to the subcontinent in 1890–91, he saw our nations’ proximity as opportunity, and predicted the distance between us would diminish year by year.
Today, the truth of Deakin’s words can be seen in the economic, cultural and strategic ties our nations so proudly share, and in the 87,000 Indian students enrolled at Australian educational institutions.
The heart of this thriving relationship is the 700,000–strong Indian Australian community, who open new pathways of dialogue and nurture essential links with our old and valued friend.
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. And we believe in the rights of nations to live free and not under the controlling hand of others.
As I reaffirmed with the President of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr Ram Nath Kovind, during his recent visit to Australia, abundant opportunities exist to strengthen and deepen the Australia–India partnership. It is my hope and expectation that we may see the benefits of this in the coming years.
It is a wonderful co-incidence in history that India and Australia share a national day: 26 January. This co-incidence means that we not only celebrate our own countries but that of a friend as well.
With these thoughts in mind, and in a warm spirit of friendship, I send my best wishes to everyone celebrating India’s Republic Day. May the festivities reinforce the affection and esteem in which Indians and Australians have long held each other.
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia