No one should underestimate India's potential: Abbott

  • PTI, Melbourne
  • Updated: Aug 14, 2014 17:28 IST

On the eve of India's Independence Day, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has praised the country's contributions to the world and said no one should underestimate India's potential to be a global superpower in this century.

While extending his warm wishes to Indians, Abbott said, "I wish the Indian community a happy Independence Day.

"India was growing from strength to strength and no one should underestimate India now; nor its potential to be a global superpower in this century," Abbott said in a statement in Melbourne.

He acknowledged bilateral people-to-people links, saying there were about 450,000 Australians with Indian ancestry.

"I pay tribute to the significant contribution they make to our nation through their dedication, hard work and willingness to serve the community," he said.

Abbott recounted Jawaharlal Nehru's speech on the eve of independence in 1947 in which he said, "India will awake to life and freedom and would step from the old to the new." Abbott said in the subsequent decades, these words have certainly come to pass.

The 56-year-old prime minister, who is expected to visit India early next month, said that bilateral trade continues to grow as now it exceeds USD 15 billion a year.

"Australia and India have had a long and strong partnership particularly in resources and education.

Later this year, I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane in November," he said.

Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Australia since 1986.

Meanwhile, Indians living in Australia are celebrating Independence Day by organising various cultural activities and Dinner events across the country.

Indian flag will be hoisted on Friday morning at various Indian premises as well as at the Indian high commission in Canberra.

Earlier this month, a gathering of high profile dignitaries and business leaders converged at the Parliament of Victoria to mark the occasion.

The event, attended by minister for multicultural affairs Matthew Guy along with several other parliamentarians, displayed the 2015 ICC World Cup trophy which became the main attraction of the night.

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