PM in Australia: From toilet warriors to scientists, researchers and artists meet Modi

| Updated: 23 May, 2023 1:35 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had a productive interaction with prominent Australian public figures working in diverse fields like science, artificial intelligence, social work, art, and music. He encouraged them to contribute towards strengthening the India-Australia relationship. During his time in Sydney, Modi had the opportunity to meet several notable personalities. These included Nobel laureate Brian Paul Schmidt, renowned advocate for sanitation, Mark Balla (also known as the ‘Toilet warrior’), talented artist Danielle Mate, acclaimed rockstar Guy Sebastian, and celebrity chef and restaurateur Sarah Todd.
Modi reached Sydney on Monday, marking the concluding phase of his three-nation tour.

Their expressions of awe highlighted how Modi stands out as a world leader, leaving a lasting impression on the individuals he engaged with.

In a statement, Mark Balla, a renowned advocate for sanitation, expressed his enthusiastic conversation with Prime Minister Modi regarding their shared passion for improving sanitation. He praised Mr. Modi for his global recognition as a change maker in the field, citing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in India as a monumental initiative that has made a significant social impact. “We had a passionate conversation about sanitation, an issue close to both of our hearts. In India, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan led by Mr. Modi has made him a global change maker in this field. His social impact and the monumental Swachh Bharat program, the largest sanitation infrastructure initiative in history, are unparalleled. Regardless of political affiliations, his efforts to create social and political will for sanitation in India are undeniably significant. It’s one of the most remarkable transformations I’ve witnessed in my visits to India over the past 15-20 years,” Balla said.

During his interaction with the media Guy Sebastian, the acclaimed Australian singer, spoke about the immense honor of meeting PM Modi, where they discussed various topics, including the viral song “Natu Natu” and their shared connection to Guy Sebastian’s mother, who hails from Kanpur. “It was an incredible honor to meet His Excellency. During our interaction, we had engaging conversations on various topics. His warm and kind demeanor was evident throughout, as he attentively listened to everything with utmost respect. One of the topics we discussed was music, and he even shared with me a viral song called “Natu Natu,” which has garnered significant attention, to the extent that the Korean embassy even did a cover of it. I am eager to learn and explore this song further. Additionally, we touched upon the fact that my mother hails from Kanpur, and His Excellency expressed that we share a common connection. This entire experience was truly beautiful for me, and the first person I will contact upon leaving will be my mother. She was incredibly excited to hear that I had the opportunity to meet His Excellency. It is indeed a tremendous honor,” said Sebastian, Australian singer.

Nobel laureate Brian Paul Schmidt commended India’s investments in science, advancements in technology, and support for scientists, which have greatly enhanced its capacity for conducting world-class research. “I had a highly enjoyable experience interacting with Prime Minister Modi. He provided a thorough briefing on our activities here in Australia and emphasized the potential for collaborative research and scientific endeavors between our countries. India’s investments in science and scientists, along with the provision of advanced equipment, have significantly elevated its ability to conduct world-class science. Prime Minister Modi’s visibility as a leader is unparalleled in my lifetime, and it was evident from our conversation why he garners such attention. He displayed a personable demeanor and a genuine interest in connecting with individuals, irrespective of their background or status. This quality likely extends to his interactions with anyone, be it the President of the United States or someone he meets for the first time from society,” he said.

Sarah Todd, an international chef, restaurateur, TV host, speaker, and entrepreneur, expressed her admiration for the Prime Minister, stating that she feels extremely fortunate to have met him. “The Prime Minister is an incredible man, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him. It is evident that he genuinely cares about the country and its vision. He has emerged as a remarkable influencer, coming from humble beginnings and rising to the position of a respected leader in the nation. His outstanding achievements have made a significant impact. Moreover, he has the ability to connect with people and make them feel valued. During our conversation today, I realized just how personable and engaged he truly is.”

Aboriginal artist Danielle Mate Sullivan praised Prime Minister Modi’s own creative sensibilities, which enable him to appreciate the parallels between the indigenous arts of India and Australia.”We’ve had extensive discussions on how India and Australia can enhance collaboration, particularly in promoting creative subjects at the university level. Prime Minister Modi exhibits a creative side himself, which enables him to recognize the parallels between First Nations arts and the potential for artistic exploration. The indigenous arts of India and Australia share significant cultural crossovers, contributing to the overall beauty of our countries’ artistic landscapes. The similarities in our First Nations cultures further emphasize the deep connections between our two nations, creating a truly remarkable bond,” said Sullivan


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