Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia in November, the sails of the Sydney Opera House were illuminated on Tuesday night to celebrate Diwali — a major step in strengthening ties between the two countries. Modi will visit Australia for G-20 summit in Brisbane starting November 15.
For the Diwali festivities, the Australian icon was awash in colour, featuring images and projections related to the multicultural festival from 8pm till midnight, on October 21.
Despite rains, some 300 people gathered to see the historic event.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Mike Baird and minister for citizenship and communities Victor Dominello hosted the event alongside multicultural NSW chair and prominent member of the Indian community, Dr Hari Harinath.
“This is the first time the Opera House has been lit up in celebration of Diwali, the festival of light celebrated by the global Hindu community,” Baird said.
“It was a wonderful Diwali launch for us in the Indian community here. I am hopeful that next year the lighting will be for more time and even the Harbour Bridge is lighted,” Pawan Luthra, CEO of the Indian Link Media group, the largest Indian Australian media company in Australia said.
The Opera House event comes as a welcome initiative for the Indian community in Sydney, who are happy to note the warming of relations between the two countries, he said.
“Following Australian PM Tony Abbott’s warm reception in India, we are now looking forward to welcoming Indian PM Narendra Modi here in the coming weeks,” Luthra added.
The NSW Parliament House in Sydney also lit up simultaneously and will remain lit each night until November 5.