Sydney, Nov 17: Former Australian Test cricketer Brett Lee welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Allphones Arena in Olympic Park here on Monday.
Welcoming PM Modi, Lee said that India has been close to his heart.
“I would like to welcome Prime Minister of India, Namaste, welcome to Australia,” Lee said.
“I first fell in love with India in 1994. It is very close to my heart, beautiful people,” he added.
The Prime Minister, who arrived at the event to a rousing welcome, shook hands with former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath and Australian umpire Simon Taufel prior to his address to the Indian Diaspora.
Prime Minister Modi also shook hands with cancer-stricken cartoonist Ramesh Chandra on his arrival here.
Addressing a huge gathering at Allphones Arena, Prime Minister Modi said that he dedicated the welcome and the respect which Indian community gave him in Sydney to the people of India.
Terming Sydney as a beautiful city and Australia a beautiful country, the Prime Minister said both the countries are bound by the bond of cricket.
The Prime Minister congratulated and complimented the Indian Australian community for working hard and making their karmbhoomi proud. He named prominent Indian-Australians who had excelled for Australia in sports and academics.
The Prime Minister said the differences between OCI and PIO schemes would be ended by January 2015. The Sydney Cultural Center would be established by the Government of India and made functional by February 2015.
Modi is presently in Sydney on the seventh day of his three-nation tour. After Sydney, he will reach Australian capital Canberra this evening, where he is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbot.
The Prime Minister will also address a joint session of the Australian Parliament on Tuesday.
(With Agency Inputs)