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Sydney set for Modi mania as India PM rallies diaspora

Narendra Modi visits Sydney

Thousands of members of the Indian diaspora will gather in Sydney for Narendra Modi’s whistle-stop tour of the harbourside city.

The Indian Prime Minister landed at 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 Modi is expected to retrace steps taken in his last Australian visit eight years ago by rallying 16,000 ecstatic supporters at Sydney Superdome on Tuesday night.

The crowd will include people bussed from Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, as well as a New Zealand contingent.

The Indian Australia Diaspora Foundation said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese would also attend in “a momentous occasion to strengthen bilateral relations”.

Talks between the two leaders are expected to focus on strengthening the countries’ defence and trade relationships, and on the transition to clean energy sources.

Mr Albanese is also under pressure to raise human rights concerns with Mr Modi, who has been accused of cracking down on freedom of speech in India to shield his government from domestic criticism over the treatment of minorities.

Mr Modi is earlier expected to drop by Indian businesses in western Sydney to unveil a foundation stone at the entrance to “Little India” at Harris Park.

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

-AAP

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