Hon’ble MOS (I/C) YAS’ Speech on the occasion of launch of India Australia Sports partnership on 12 th April, Mumbai
His Excellency Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, sports legend, Sachin Tendulkar and other Sportspersons, dignitaries from State Government of Maharashtra, eminent sports persons, officials, media friends, ladies and gentlemen, it is a matter of great privilege for me to be a part of this historic launch of India Australia Sports Partnership today in Mumbai.
On behalf of Government of India, I welcome Hon’ble Prime Minister of Australia Mr. Malcolm Turnbull and other dignitaries today on this occasion.
India and Australia are natural allies. We share a common heritage. Our friendship is most visible in the field of cricket. The relationship between the people of two countries are getting deeper with every passing day. The spectrum of our partnership is getting larger and larger. India Australia partnership has specifically gained a lot of momentum in the field of education and research where universities of the countries are engaged in a lot joint research, exchange of scholars and students. For a large number of Indian students, Australian universities are a big attraction.
Sports is another area where I see a lot of potential for collaboration between two countries. Australia is a leading sporting country and it has performed very well in successive Olympic Games. India has started taking sports as a very important component of public health management as well as education. We have launched a major grassroots programme – Khelo India for developing a sporting culture at grass-roots level. We are planning to introduce sports as a compulsory subject in schools. National Sports Talent Identification and Development Portal is to be launched shortly. National Sports Governance code is being revised to make it more democratic, transparent and accountable. Many new changes are being planned. We are establishing a National Sports University and revamping our coaching development framework. For elite athletes, we are committed to provide state of the art facilities and sports science and sports medicine supports.
We have excellent results in Cricket, Kabaddi, Wrestling, Archery, Shooting, Hockey, Badminton, Tennis etc. Australia is doing well in the areas of Swimming, Sailing, Athletics, Cycling, Basket Ball, Hockey etc. Australia has integrated sports with school education and they have also made a lot of advancement in sports medicine and sports science. We have a lot to learn and share with Australia in the field of sports.
Day before yesterday, we signed 5 MOUs between the sporting Institutions of the two countries. This will enable both the countries to promote sports and strengthen our relationship further. This India- Australia Sports Partnership would facilitate exchange of athletes, coaches, technical officials, sports scientists between two countries. I have visited Australia and was really impressed with the rich culture.
Your Excellency, I have earlier served as Minister of State in PMO during the regime of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999-2003 and this is my second stint as a Minister in the Government of India. I proudly say that I got to work with two Statesmen, both being very popular. As you might have noticed that the present Prime Minister is really adored by the people of India.
During his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Modi had mentioned that “Sydney is a beautiful city and Australia is a beautiful country. Both India and Australia can't live without cricket”. He also said that “the people of Australia speak with the same respect to a doctor as with a driver. This dignity of labour is something to learn from”.
I am a sports lover and have been a national level player in Kho-Kho and Basketball and now as Sports Minister of India, I personally would like to thank His Excellency the Prime Minister for sparing time for launching this Partnership Programme. I was searching for commonalities with Hon’ble PM and I succeeded in finding three things in common and i.e. love for basketball, interest in heritage and incidently the year of birth too. I do not know whether he likes singing or not. Mr. Turnbull visited Akshardham Temple and is interested in various heritage sites. I requested Ms. Sidhu to bring Mr. Turnbull to our Haveli Dharampura and see the glory of walled city of Chandini Chowk, but may be due to paucity of time, it could not be possible in this visit, so I request Mr. Turnbull to please visit the Haveli and the Chandini Chowk during his next visit to India.
In the end I would like to say that I firmly believe that promotion of sports within countries is key to happiness and peace in world. I am very happy that Hon’ble Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, is present on this historic occasion of launch of this India-Australia Sports Partnership. I am sure this partnership will not only promote sports but will also help us further strengthening of relationship among the people of two countries.
I am very impressed by the demonstration given by athletes today and I am grateful to Ms. Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to India for inviting me to this occasion. I thank the athletes, officials, people of Mumbai and friends from the field of journalism.