The Australian Indian Sports Educational and Cultural Society (AISECS) organised an event on the occasion of India’s 75th Indian Independence Day. In view of the lockdown restrictions amid the growth of COVID-19 cases in Sydney, AISECS decided to conduct and run the entire session virtually, joined by viewers from different parts of Australia.
AISECS thanked the following esteemed guest speakers who joined them in this celebration – His excellency Mr Manpreet Vohra, High Commissioner of India; Hon. Jason Wood, Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs; Hon. Dr. Fiona Martin, Parliament Member for Reid, NSW; Hon. Manish Gupta, Consul General of India in Sydney; Hon. Jodi McKay, Parliament Member for Strathfield; Hon. Dave Sharma, Federal Parliament Member for Wentworth; Hon. Victor Dominello, Minister for Digital & Customer Service, MP for Ryde
The Founder of AISECS, Mr. Gurnam Singh began the event by welcoming the honorary guests and wishing everyone a Happy Independence Day on behalf of Team AISECS. He addressed how the 2021 Independence Day celebration has been unique unlike other years because of the restrictions in place. Mr. Singh highlighted India’s Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the Red Fort this year in presence of the Indian Olympians who won medals in the Tokyo games 2020.
The AISECS founder then explained the significance of the Indian National flag in brief and pointed out the reason why the Indian National Flag is termed as ‘Tiranga’ before getting into the details of what each colour in the flag represents.
Mr. Reetpal Singh, an ambassador of AISECS took over and demonstrated a presentation that helped the attendees relive India’s grand 75th Independence Day celebration by Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The presentation also had an important agenda as this occasion proved to be an opportunity for AISECS to depict the evolution and growth of Australia-India bilateral ties over the years. To celebrate the growth and acceptance of the ties, Mr. Reetpal pointed out several commonalities between the two nations with the latest one being an Olympic medal each in hockey during the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
His excellency Mr. Manpreet Vohra, High Commissioner of India greeted everyone and wished a very Happy Independence Day. Mr. Vohra began his address by expressing his concerns over the lockdown situation in Australia but at the same time hoped that Indians around the world will be able to celebrate Independence Day without such restrictions in future. Talking about the Australia-India relationship, Mr. Vohra said that the positivity and the closeness between the two nations has been incredible. He said, “I asked the chief justice of Queensland when I was in Brisbane that when was the last time an Indian origin person was hauled up before your bench and she thought for several seconds and said, High Commissioner I can’t remember. That is the nature of Indian community in Australia.” Mr. Vohra then spoke about the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ that the two nations share and how rapidly it has transformed in recent years primarily because of them being natural partners with same democratic traditions. He added that Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was in New Delhi ten days ago for a high-level meeting to discuss advancements of the economic relationship and the future of trade and investment between the two nations looks extremely bright with a lot of potential. The High Commissioner then acknowledged the contribution of Indian Community in Australia and appreciated the closeness between the Indian and local communities. Mr Vohra didn’t hesitate in saying, “I might be the High Commissioner of India but each and every one of my community members is an ambassador of India.”
Hon. Jason Wood, Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs then greeted everyone by wishing a Happy Indian Independence Day to everyone in Hindi. He stated that this celebration is a recognition of the dedication, commitment and hard work not only in India but across the world. The minister also pointed out how the two countries have always been there for each other whether it’s the Indian volunteers providing a helping hand in Australia or the authorities from Australia sending tones of medical supplies and ventilators when India were dealing the second deadly wave of COVID-19. Mr. Wood also mentioned, “We are treating our international students as our own” especially when they are dealing with a lot of challenges. He added how the nations should also be proud of shared values and commonalities including the obsession of cricket. International students are our kids
Hon. Dave Sharma, Federal Parliament Member for Wentworth then mentioned how the Indian migration story has been such a successful one for the last four decades. Mr. Sharma said how proud Australia is to have the Indian community as they are diligent, law-abiding and passionate about Australia. He also said the migration of Indians has been a positive one and the contributions from the Indian community have been extremely valuable.
Hon. Dr Fiona Martin, Parliament Member for Reid wished everyone a Happy Independence Day. Dr Martin mentioned the qualities of strong leadership and vision that led India to their Independence and the nation since then have seen countless achievements through strong economic growth, development and proud democracy. Dr Fiona Martin expressed how proud she is to represent the strong and growing Indian community in Reid, that prides itself on its culture and language.
Hon. Victor Dominello, Minister for Digital & Customer Service, MP for Ryde described India as an amazing place that covers all corners of humanity after describing his personal experience visiting India several times in the past. He added that India, being the world’s largest democracy is also heavily into tech and understands the importance of that. The Minister also pointed out the advantage of human resource that India has as a nation that turns out to be an extremely important factor.
Hon. Jodi McKay, Parliament Member for Strathfield shared that they wanted to have a grand celebration on the occasion of the Indian Independence Day but unfortunately had to keep the plans on hold. Despite the lockdown restrictions, she appreciated the passion of Indians who celebrated the occasion virtually. She also acknowledged the efforts made by AISECS to support the International students who have been suffering from various issues right from the start of the pandemic.
Hon. Manish Gupta, Consul General of India greeted everyone and wished a Happy Independence Day and termed it to be a momentous occasion and a major milestone. Mr. Gupta was pleasantly surprised to see organisations and communities celebrating the occasion virtually despite the challenges and appreciated AISECS for the contributions towards supporting international students. He then explained the significance of India’s Independence moment that was achieved through two unique instruments – truth and non-violence. He also spoke about the rapid transformation of India after becoming a single unified market and the important structural reforms will contribute tremendously towards its economy. Hon. Consul General of India then concluded his address by talking about the growth of Australia-India ties and how the future looks bright for the partnership between the two nations. India sector
Mr. Gurnam Singh then invited other panelists to share their thoughts with viewers from different parts of Australia and concluded the event by talking about the sacrifices and selfless contributions made by the frontline workers today in the times of the pandemic and hoped to celebrate the festivals without any restrictions in future.