By Shweta Aggarwal
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has started his India journey with a splash of colours, becoming the first foreign head of state to begin his four-day visit to the country on a “Holi”-day. For the people of Gandhinagar, it was a sight they will cherish for years as the Australian leader joined in playing “holi” with flowers at the Governor’s House.
The ‘Holi Celebrations’ event was organised by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat in the honour of the visiting leader and his delegation on March 8. Mr Albanese was welcomed by the Gujarat Governor and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel at Raj Bhavan by applying colour on his face as a mark of Holi celebrations. Gujarat Assembly Speaker Shankar Chaudhary, along with several state ministers, also joined in playing Holi with the visiting leader.
Going by the photos he posted on Twitter, the Australian leader enjoyed every moment of it. “Honoured to celebrate Holi in Ahmedabad, India. Holi’s message of renewal through the triumph of good over evil is an enduring reminder for all of us.” “Happy Holi to everyone who celebrated at home in Australia,” he said in another post.
“This is the first time a foreign leader has been invited on a visit on the day of Holi. It’s a way of showing a new comfort level and growing closeness in India-Australia relations,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and the World. “India has given soft power diplomacy a new colour through this Holi diplomacy,” said Mr Chand, Director, Centre for Global India Insights, a think tank focused on global affairs.
Mr Albanese’s maiden visit is expected to be substantive as the two countries look to sign a crucial pact on critical minerals and deepen their defence and maritime partnership in the Indo-Pacific.
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