Narendra Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to address the gallery of Australian member of parliamentarians and leaders at a special joint sitting of Federal Parliament after he attends the G20 leaders’ Summit in Brisbane next month.
While several MPs have expressed their delight and happiness for him to make his maiden trip as the PM, there are speculations that he would be delivering his historic address in Hindi like he has done in the past in other parts of the world.
Labor Senator from Tasmania Lisa Singh said Modi’s speech in Hindi would mean he was bringing in respect, culture and strengths of India to Australia.
“I think it shows that he is bringing the respect, the culture and strengths of India to Australia. And I think it is important that he makes this journey to our country,” 42-year old Singh, who is the first federal Parliamentarian of Indian origin, said.
“Addressing our parliament is incredibly dignified moment. I don’t mind which language he addresses our Parliament,” she said.
“I think if it gives more respect to Indian diaspora to address them in Hindi then he should do so. He has been doing so in other parts of the world and he is someone who recognises that India is a unique country and for its uniqueness I can understand that he wants to speak in his native tongue,” she added.
“As Australians we should respect that,” Singh said.
She said that on her recent visit to India she felt that there was a new feeling of hope across the country with Modi at the helm.
“He has galvanised India,” she said adding that she was looking forward to meet him when he is here.
Modi is due to address a special joint sitting of federal Parliament next month after he attends G20 leaders’ summit on November 15-16.
Other leaders who would also address the special sitting are British PM David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Rory Medcalf of Sydney-based think-tank Lowy Institute said the news of Modi addressing the Australian Parliament was a welcome sign of how far relations between Australia and India have advanced.
“And it would do no harm if Modi gave his address in Hindi. He is a brilliant orator in that language, and it would be a nice reminder to Australians that this is one of the fastest-growing languages in this country – and that the English language has no monopoly on democracy,” Medcalf said.