Shadow Minister for Communications, Labor MP Michelle Rowland remembers her trips to India as the South Asian nation prepares to celebrate its 73rd Republic Day.
As we approach India’s 73rd Republic Day, I am reminded of my dual trips to the nation a few years ago.
During my time in Chennai, Amritsar and Delhi, to Agra, Jaipur and Mumbai, the character of India and its people quickly became clear — India is a nation defined by its ability to care for its neighbours, on a micro and macro level.
Through India’s innovative rigour, economic success, value for diversity, ability to collaborate, and technological leadership, it has become imperative in developing solutions that benefit nations across the globe.
India has become a hub for research and development, with over 70 per cent of the world’s most innovative firms having centres there.
During the pandemic, India’s COVID vaccine producers shared their supply with at least six of their neighbours: Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and The Seychelles.
And, in response to the pandemic, India continues to be on the frontline of solutions-based research, stating it will financially support 75 start-up organisations in their pursuit to further developments on telemedicine and digital health.
Most recently, India’s launch of the Indian Space Association (ISpA) in October 2021 has accelerated technological advancements in the world’s collective space sector.
India’s innovative potential has fed in to its production capacity.
I spent a week in Gujarat, attending the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit for Trade and Investment — the world’s 2nd largest investment forum.
There, India’s innovative potential was illuminated, setting a high standard for the rest of the world. The automotive industry in India, for instance, is one of the largest and is projected to create 14.9 million jobs by the end of 2022. India’s acumen for construction has resulted in jobs generation, as it constructs over 40km of highways per day across the nation.
Not to mention, the Bhadla Solar Park in the Jodhpur district, Rajasthan, is the largest in the world.
The diaspora continues to benefit from India’s innovative capabilities, as IT centers like Tata Infosys Mahindra assist with technology here in North Sydney, employing thousands of residents.
Beyond their academic successes, Indian Australians are also making their mark in the sports arena. From Jason Sangha and Gurinder Sandhu from Western Sydney, playing for our Sydney Thunder team, to Harmanpreet Kaur, India’s T20 captain and player of the tournament in the Women’s Big Bash League.
India’s diplomatic attitude of solutions-based action and generosity has become inherent within the nation’s people, including its diaspora here in Australia.
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2021, people of Indian heritage in my electorate of Greenway kept our community going, without any expectation of thanks or reward.
Turbans 4 Australia were responsible for delivering 271,000 free meals across the nation, lending a total of 585 days for COVID-19 Crisis Support.
The Hindu Council of Australia has embodied the essence of Raksha Bandhan – showing selfless-service and dedication throughout the last two years especially, initiating food drives across the state and country to anyone who needed it, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity.
The HCA created the Hindu Benevolent Fund, which provides financial help to people in distress as a result of the lockdowns, as well as the Karma Kitchen dedicated to feeding homeless people.
The Harman Foundation initiated a food drive named Langar for Hunger, distributing 7000 meals throughout Blacktown during the pandemic.
Amidst the lockdowns in NSW, where places of worship were closed to the public, the Gurdwara Sahib Temple in Glenwood did not leave their spaces empty. Instead, they created a pop-up vaccine clinic, supplying any individual with ample access to vaccinations.
The contributions of the Indian diaspora to Australia are seemingly endless, and their place in our community is invaluable.
Only a week ago, as the Omicron virus grips Australia causing many to lock down, said organisations consistently contacted my team, making them aware of any initiatives they were providing to ensure anybody who required their services, had access to them.
This Indian Republic Day, Indians and their diaspora should take immense pride in India. They should do so not only for their contributions on a global stage through technological and medical innovation, but also for their benefaction each day, in communities across the world.
73 years since the official declaration of India as a republic, India has become a prominent world leader ever dedicated to furthering innovation, fostering diversity and prioritizing harmony, domestically and internationally.
Happy India Republic Day 2022!