There were tears at the doors and hysterics in the main arena as Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese made their way into Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday night.

Up to 20,000 adoring fans had been eagerly awaiting their arrival for hours. A timer appeared on huge screens in the 52 minutes leading to the time Mr Modi was due to speak.

As the seconds ticked down, the buzzing crowd – many of whom had arrived by bus, train and even plane – jumped to their feet. The clock struck zero and Mr Modi’s fans erupted. 

The deafening screams were followed by confused silence – Mr Modi and his entourage were nowhere to be seen. Then, the clock started up again. Another 10 more minutes. 

Those final minutes dragged on slowly for members of the audience. Children who weren’t alive when he last paid Australia a visit in 2014, fans who never caught a glimpse of him the first time around, were beginning to get antsy.

There were tears at the doors and hysterics in the main arena as Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese made their way into Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday night

There were tears at the doors and hysterics in the main arena as Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese made their way into Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday night

Up to 20,000 adoring fans had been eagerly awaiting their arrival for hours. A timer appeared on huge screens in the 52 minutes leading to the time Mr Modi was due to speak

Up to 20,000 adoring fans had been eagerly awaiting their arrival for hours. A timer appeared on huge screens in the 52 minutes leading to the time Mr Modi was due to speak

There were live performances in the hours leading to Mr Modi's arrival

There were live performances in the hours leading to Mr Modi’s arrival

The two PMs embraced for the cheering crowd

The two PMs embraced for the cheering crowd 

Members of the local Indian community are pictured listening to a speech by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sydney on May 23, 2023

Members of the local Indian community are pictured listening to a speech by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sydney on May 23, 2023

The pair reunited on Wednesday at Admiralty House in Kirribilli to discuss trade, investment, defence and Chinese supply chain dominance

The pair reunited on Wednesday at Admiralty House in Kirribilli to discuss trade, investment, defence and Chinese supply chain dominance

The welcome Mr Modi – and, Prime Minister Albanese by association – received when he finally strode into the near-capacity venue was one befitting a rock star.

All around, overwhelmed fans FaceTimed loved ones who couldn’t make it, asking in earnest: ‘do you see him? Can you hear what he says?’ 

Little children put down their hot chips and climbed two steps up the rails, desperate for a glimpse of the celebrity PM.

Our own prime minister knew just how to work the crowd. 

He sung the Australian anthem proudly – first alone, but slowly the crowd joined him.

Mr Albanese was joined by NSW Premier Chris Minns to welcome the Indian PM to the cheering crowd.

‘The last person I saw on this stage was Bruce Springsteen… and he didn’t get the welcome Prime Minister Modi has got,’ Mr Albanese said. 

‘Prime Minister Modi is the boss.’ 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured right) got very chummy with Mr Modi (left)

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured right) got very chummy with Mr Modi (left)

Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Modi (right) held hands while waving to the huge crowd

Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Modi (right) held hands while waving to the huge crowd

Mr Modi was given a warm welcome at Admiralty House

Mr Modi was given a warm welcome at Admiralty House

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Australian Prime Minster Anthony Albanese are welcomed by an Aboriginal man as they arrive for an Indian community event

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Australian Prime Minster Anthony Albanese are welcomed by an Aboriginal man as they arrive for an Indian community event

Then it was time for business. Hot off a plane from Canberra, where the Voice to Parliament referendum debate is raging in the House of Representatives, the Australian PM did not waste an opportunity to preach to the masses.

‘I am proud to lead a government that will give all of you, all Australians, the chance to vote in a referendum to recognise our First Peoples in our nation’s Constitution later this year,’ he said.

‘I urge my Indian-Australian friends, vote yes.’ 

Mr Modi paid his own tribute to First Nations people, appearing to support the PM’s cause.

The crowd also erupted in cheers – much to the Labor contingent’s delight.

Among the crowd were Penny Wong and Peter Dutton – both of whom got a shout out in Mr Modi’s speech.

Mr Modi appeared unfazed by a small gathering of protesters milling outside, dwarfed by a huge police presence and water-tight security set up. 

In the behind-the-scenes hallway leading to the arena, walls are lined with framed pictures of all the performers who have graced this stage before – Motley Crue, Madonna and Miley Cyrus to name a few. 

And yet, one staff member covering the doors told Daily Mail Australia the crowds are unlike anything the arena has seen before.

Dancers perform in traditional Indian costume (pictured) as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a cultural event on May 23, 2023 at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney

Dancers perform in traditional Indian costume (pictured) as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a cultural event on May 23, 2023 at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney

The two politicians embraced - though the act appeared to be a little awkward

The two politicians embraced – though the act appeared to be a little awkward

Dancers perform (pictured) before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's arrival to attend an Indian community event at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney

Dancers perform (pictured) before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival to attend an Indian community event at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney

Live performances, a seemingly never-ending red carpet and 20,000 adoring fans (pictured); it's a welcome to Australia befitting a rock star

Live performances, a seemingly never-ending red carpet and 20,000 adoring fans (pictured); it’s a welcome to Australia befitting a rock star

Members of the Australian Indian community (pictured) await the arrival of Prime Minister Modi at Qudos Bank Arena on May 23, 2023 in Sydney

Members of the Australian Indian community (pictured) await the arrival of Prime Minister Modi at Qudos Bank Arena on May 23, 2023 in Sydney

‘There’s been tears before guests even get inside. Happy tears. It’s a pretty huge deal,’ staffer Hannah said at the door. 

The cancellation of the Quad Leaders Summit was not enough to deter Mr Modi, who had already locked in an appearance for his huge Australian diaspora.

The polarising leader has been in power for nine years and will likely earn a third term. He last visited Australia in 2014, when Tony Abbott was PM.

At the forefront of his decision to travel to Sydney even after US President Joe Biden and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida both cancelled is his enormous fan base.

And the man of the hour appeared to have all the right things to say to the adoring 20,000-strong crowd. 

They collectively laughed when he paused, cheered almost as if watching cue cards and sighed at the first sign of dissatisfaction on Mr Modi’s face.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a community event at Qudos Bank Arena

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a community event at Qudos Bank Arena

A smiling and happy section of the crowd is pictures at Qudos Arena in Sydney as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi spoke

A smiling and happy section of the crowd is pictures at Qudos Arena in Sydney as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi spoke

Dancers performed in traditional Indian costume (pictured) before India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a cultural event in Sydney, Australia

Dancers performed in traditional Indian costume (pictured) before India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a cultural event in Sydney, Australia

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) said Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (left) 'is the boss'

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) said Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (left) ‘is the boss’

Mr Modi is pictured addressing the crowd of about 20,000 at Qudos Arena on Tuesday night

Mr Modi is pictured addressing the crowd of about 20,000 at Qudos Arena on Tuesday night

Some held flags, waving them with pride. Others chatted among themselves, shouting at the seat next to them as performances and fans drowned out their voices.  

Mr Albanese told the raucous crowd of his own personal experiences with India, reminiscing on a backpacking trip in the 90s.

He, too, was captured on the big screen from the moment he entered Qudos Bank Arena where the red carpet was rolled out for him and Foreign Minister Penny Wong. 

Again, there was plenty of fanfare and spectacle. Mr Modi greeted each of Australia's leaders as they lined up in a row

Again, there was plenty of fanfare and spectacle. Mr Modi greeted each of Australia’s leaders as they lined up in a row

Mr Modi was given a warm welcome at Admiralty House

Mr Modi was given a warm welcome at Admiralty House

'Prime Minister Modi's visit to Australia has strengthened the close and strong relationship that Australia enjoys with India,' Mr Albanese said

‘Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia has strengthened the close and strong relationship that Australia enjoys with India,’ Mr Albanese said

Mr Albanese also took the opportunity to announce an inaugural Advisory Board for Australia-India relations, to be based out of Parramatta in Sydney’s west. 

The centre will span government, industry, academia and the local community, working toward building a greater understanding between the two nations. 

And NSW Premier Chris Minns welcomed the local Indian diaspora with a warm speech thanking ‘all those Indian Australians who make this country so great’.

‘Look at the scale of this event, it’s huge,’ he said. ‘More and more people have come to Australia from India. They’ve started businesses, studied, called Australia home.

‘We come from many different backgrounds here in Australia and for that, we are stronger.’ 

The western Sydney suburb of Harris Park was lit with the colours of the national flag – orange, white and green – in honour of Mr Modi’s trip to Australia.

The two politicians appeared in high spirits as they attended the community event

The two politicians appeared in high spirits as they attended the community event

There was a huge and adoring crowd (pictured) at the Quodos Arena to welcome Mr Modi

There was a huge and adoring crowd (pictured) at the Quodos Arena to welcome Mr Modi

One in three Harris Park residents was born in India, 10 times the share in Greater Sydney or elsewhere in Australia, and the suburb is home to a bustling retail and dining precinct showcasing the best of the subcontinent.

During his two-day visit to the country, Mr Modi is expected to drop by Indian businesses for the unveiling of a foundation stone at the entrance to the suburb’s ‘Little India’ street.

The pair reunited on Wednesday at Admiralty House in Kirribilli to discuss trade, investment, defence and Chinese supply chain dominance.

Net zero carbon emissions, co-operation, and growing bilateral investment are also expected to be topics of discussion. 

Again, there was plenty of fanfare and spectacle. Mr Modi greeted each of Australia’s leaders as they lined up in a row.

There was a short period of time for photo opportunities, before Mr Modi and Mr Albanese held private discussions. Afterwards, the Indian PM was due to meet with the Opposition. 

In a press conference following the bilateral meeting, Mr Modi said: ‘In the language of cricket our ties have entered the T20 mode.’

The pair reunited on Wednesday at Admiralty House in Kirribilli to discuss trade, investment, defence and Chinese supply chain dominance

The pair reunited on Wednesday at Admiralty House in Kirribilli to discuss trade, investment, defence and Chinese supply chain dominance

‘Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia has strengthened the close and strong relationship that Australia enjoys with India,’ Mr Albanese said.

‘This is a relationship we need to invest in. Our strong partnership with India will deliver benefits for Australia in trade, investment and business, and in regional security and stability.

‘In my first year as Prime Minister, I have met with Prime Minister Modi six times, which underscores the value we place on deepening ties between our nations.

‘Australia is a better place because of the contributions of Indian-Australian community, and we want to see more connections between our countries.’ 

Mr Modi leads the Bjaratiya Janata Party, which boasts 170 million members and is the world’s largest political party.

Mr Modi received a warm reception from several members of the Indian community after he landed in the country on Monday night

Mr Modi received a warm reception from several members of the Indian community after he landed in the country on Monday night

Diplomats greet India's prime minister Modi including Australia's high commissioner to India, Barry O'Farrell (left)

Diplomats greet India’s prime minister Modi including Australia’s high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell (left)

He is widely considered a divisive figure in global politics for his hostility toward religious minorities and Muslims in particular, propensity to silence his critics, and Hindu nationalist agenda. 

He’s also been criticised for failing to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  

Deputy PM Richard Marles was asked on Tuesday whether Mr Albanese would broach these difficult conversations during bilateral talks.

He said: ‘Well, we have a very deep and open relationship with India, but I’m not about to go into all of those elements.

‘I’m sure that there will be a full conversation that that both Prime Ministers have tomorrow, but we want to emphasise that India is a democracy.

‘It’s a country with whom we share values and we do want to see a much bigger growth in the way in which we engage with each other and cut both a military level and in terms of our trade.’

Elaine Pearson, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said Mr Albanese should use this visit as a ‘key opportunity to raise the criticisms and concerns’ Mr Modi ‘doesn’t hear in India’.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) has touched down in Australia ahead of planned talks with Anthony Albanese

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) has touched down in Australia ahead of planned talks with Anthony Albanese

Crackdowns on freedom of speech meant Mr Modi has been largely shielded from public criticism of human rights abuses, she said. 

‘Muslims and Christians have faced discrimination, threats and violent attacks,’ Ms Pearson said.

‘Draconian laws are regularly used to target journalists, civil society groups and government critics.’

Greens senator David Shoebridge said Australia should have a strong relationship with India, but it should be ‘a friendship of truth’.

‘We have said repeatedly that the degrading human rights situation in India, the lack of freedom of the press needs to be an issue that is squarely raised,’ he said.

The PMs have also developed a closer relationship in recent months. Mr Albanese visited Mr Modi in March and received his own rock star welcome, complete with laps around a cricket stadium to the sound of cheers from the crowd.

India’s leader flew into Sydney Airport on Monday night, where he was greeted by Australia’s high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell, and NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, who is the son of migrants from the Punjab region.

Mr Albanese next plans to visit India in September for a meeting of G20 leaders in New Delhi.

Mr Modi received a respectful greeting from Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, who knelt and touched his feet

Mr Modi received a respectful greeting from Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape, who knelt and touched his feet 

Mr Modi will attend a community event to be held at Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday night. About 20,000 people, mostly from the Indian community, are expected to attend

Mr Modi will attend a community event to be held at Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday night. About 20,000 people, mostly from the Indian community, are expected to attend

Quad Leaders Summit forges on in Japan after President Biden cancelled trip to Australia 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was able to salvage his Quad Summit during a visit to Japan for the G7.

He described US President Joe Biden and PMs Narendra Modi and Fumio Kishida as ‘close friends’ in his opening address on Saturday.

President Biden said: ‘Thank you for accommodating the change of location. Particularly you, Prime Minister Albanese, especially for your impressive leadership of the Quad this year and your gracious flexibility in holding the meeting here again, in Japan.

‘I think people are going to look back at this Quad in, God willing, ten, twenty, thirty years from now and say it changed the dynamic not only of the region, but the world.’

The Quad’s mission statement is to secure future prosperity and stability within the Indi-Pacific. 

Last week, the high-stakes Quad leaders summit was cancelled on the back of a 4.30am call from President Biden revealing he’d be unable to attend.

Mr Biden is in the middle of crucial debt ceiling talks with congressional leaders and cannot miss the final stages of negotiations to raise the US’s $31.4 trillion borrowing limit.

The debt ceiling matter must be resolved by June 1 or the US will default on its debt for the first time in its history – and the week of the Quad summit marked the last opportunity to reach a resolution.



Daily Mail

You May Also Like

Heavenly Inquisition Sword Chapter 67 Release Date and Where To Read

The fans are excited for Heavenly Inquisition Sword Chapter 67 which is…

Pro-Life or Pro-Winning? Trump Weighs Abortion Policies With 2024 Victory

Welcome to Trail Mix, a fun but nutritious snack for your election…

House Judiciary Committee hearing today: GOP-controlled group hears Chicago violence testimony amid possible government shutdown

CHICAGO (WLS) — Members of the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee are in…

The 15 Best New Books in October 2023

The 15 Best New Books in October 2023 | Time Connect Wallet…