Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the crowd at Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

The Australian Jewish News
May 25, 2023

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) CEO Darren Bark was among an official delegation of leaders welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sydney this week.

Bark greeted Modi before his appearance at a 20,000-strong rally at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday.

The rockstar reception was attended by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, NSW Premier Chris Minns, Opposition Leader Mark Speakman and a host of other dignitaries.

Speaking to The AJN, Bark said, “It is wonderful to see the Prime Minister of India personally reach out to multi-faith leaders across our state. It demonstrates that the strength of our multiculturalism not only has an impact here in NSW, but is recognised and appreciated on the world stage.

“The whole strength of our country is built on migration and multiculturalism. The Hindu community is the largest growing faith community in Australia, and we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Hindu colleagues and friends in marking Modi’s historic visit.”

Joining Bark on the official welcoming committee at the ceremony were Hindu Council of Australia vice-president Surinder Jain; Better Balanced Futures CEO Murray Norman, representing the Christian community; and Shaikh Murtaza Madarwala, representing the Islamic community.

Jain, whose Hindu community works closely with the JBD, told The AJN, “Modi’s visit to Australia is a historic occasion, not just for the Hindu community, but for our entire nation. He is an extraordinary leader and a proud man of faith. We warmly welcome his visit.”

Earlier this month, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen became the first foreign minister in 19 years to visit India, hailing Modi as “one of the central factors in Israel–India relations being the closest and strongest they have been since relations were established in 1992”.