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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Madam Bronwyn Bishop, President of the Senate, Stephen Parry,

Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, my friend, Tony Abbott!

Congratulations to you and the people of Australia on a successful G20!

I am the third Head of Government you are listening to this week!

I don't know how you are doing this! May be, this is Prime Minister Abbott's way of shirt fronting you! But, I am truly honoured and humbled by this opportunity to speak to you.

I stand here as one of you - a representative of the people; I come to you with the greetings of 1.25 billion people of a nation, linked to Australia by the great Indian Ocean; by our connected history and our many shared inheritances- and, even more by our deeply interlinked destinies. And, today I have come to unite in spirit, as we were once by geography - spirit that is fed by many stirring stories of human success and sacrifice.

This morning, Prime Minister and I honoured our soldiers, who 100 years ago made the supreme sacrifice together in the battle of Gallipoli. The man who designed this beautiful capital of Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin, lies buried in the old city of Lucknow in India.

More than 150 years ago, an Australian novelist and lawyer John Lang fought the legal battle for a brave Indian freedom fighter, the Queen of Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai against the British East India Company in India's first War of Independence. He also lies buried in the Indian hill town of Mussoorie.

The statue of Gandhi in Canberra is a symbol of our shared values.

We celebrate the legend of Bradman and the class of Tendulkar together.

We are impressed by Australian speed as you are charmed by the Indian spin Until of course Shane Warne came along!

But, above all, we are united by the ideals of democracy.

Today, as I stand in this temple of democracy, I consider nations such as ours to be blessed, because democracy offers the best opportunity for the human spirit to flourish, because we have the freedom to choose, the right to speak and the power to remove – and, for us in politics, with no option but to leave with grace.

Generations of people's representatives have made Australia one of the great nations of the world today. From the vast stretch of territory to the abundance of resources, Nature has been generous to you. But, it is the people of Australia, who have made Australia what it is today: A beacon of democracy and rule of law; a nation that willingly leads the search of a lost aircraft; one of the most prosperous nations in the world;among the best in human development index; a nation with some of the best cities in the world; some of the most productive farms and mines; some of its best universities and research centres; an advanced technology base; and, a nation with great sporting skills.

Australia evokes images not just of immense beauty, but also of a great quality of life. Today, its cities are alive with richness of this world’s diversity. And, it is home to 450,000 Indians, who are as proud to be part of Australia as they are of their Indian heritage.

Honorable Members,

There was a time when, for many of us, Australia was a distant land on the southern edge of the world.

Today, the world sees Australia to be at the heart of the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region. This dynamic region holds the key to this world's future; and Australia is at its cross-currents. And, as Australia has become more engaged in this part of the world, we welcome its growing role in driving this region's prosperity and shaping its security.

Because we, in India, seek the same future for this world.

We also see Australia as a vital partner in India's quest for progress and prosperity. There are few countries in the world where we see so much synergy as we do in Australia. India a nation of more than a billion seeking development; Australia a developed country of a few million people and vast resource. Since the turn of this century, India has been the second fastest growing economy in the world. Millions have lifted themselves out of poverty into a new life of possibilities.

Today, we have a government with a clear majority after thirty years. From the remotest village to the biggest cities, there is a new high tide of hope in India; a new energy.

It is the energy of our youth – the 800 million people below the age of 35 – eager for change, willing to work for it - because, now they believe that it is possible. That they can make it happen. It is this force of transformation that we will unleash.

In the six months that we have been in office, we have moved forward, thinking with ambition, acting with speed; seeking growth not just for growth, but to transform the quality of life of every Indian –

I see Australia as a major partner in every area of our national priority.

In providing skills and education to our youth; a roof over every head and electricity in every household; the most affordable healthcare for the most difficult diseases; the next generation of infrastructure that does not take a toll on our environment; Energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt - clean coal and gas, renewable energy or fuel for nuclear power; cities that are smart, sustainable and livable; villages that offer opportunities; agriculture that yields more and farms that are better connected to markets; practices and technology that save water.

We have a new Mission for turning "Made in India" into a global name just as Computer in India is. But, we want to find new pathways to prosperity, not simply travel down the roads of the previous century.

Much of India's future cities and infrastructure is yet to be built and so we have a unique opportunity to make our choices now. And, in every sector – agriculture, food processing, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance and technology, energy; from providing funds and resources to technology and expertise; working as partners and investers -Australia has immense opportunities to participate in India's progress.

In turn, India will be the answer to your search for new economic opportunities and your desire to diversify your global economic engagement; your source for world class skills at home or for a manufacturing location abroad.

India’s development, demography and demandprovide a unique long term opportunity for Australia – and all in the familiar framework of democracy. There is no other example of this nature in the world.

Indian investors, too, are coming here in growing numbers and commitments.

Honourable Members,

This is an age rich in promise, but also filled with challenges.

We can only pursue our dreams, if we have the confidence that our cities are safe, our nations are secure, our region is stable and our world is peaceful.

This vast region has many unsettled questions and new challenges. Historical differences persist despite growing inter-dependence. The oceans are our lifelines. But, we worry about its access and security in our part of the world more than ever before.

Our region has seen huge progress on the foundation of peace and stability.

But, we cannot take this for granted. Preserving it will be the most important task in the region. India and Australia can play their part in it - by expanding our security cooperation and deepening our international partnerships in the region.

But, we do not have to rely on borrowed architecture of the past. Nor do we have the luxury to choose who we work with and who we don't. But, what we do need is to work together and with others to create environment and culture that promotes the currency of co-existence and cooperation; in which all nations, small and big, abide by international law and norms, even when they have bitter disputes.

We should collaborate more on maintaining maritime security. We should work together on the seas and collaborate in international forums. And, we should work for a universal respect for international law and global norms.

We must also support the process of economic integration across the region and an open global trading system that remains integrated. We must guard against regional trade initiatives becoming instruments of political competition. However, economic integration by itself won’t be a strong basis for peace and stability, without strong regional institutions.

India and Australia are members of several institutions that are critical for this region and the world. We should coordinate more closely in East Asia Summit, G20 and the Indian Ocean Region Association.

Honorable Members,

In our inter-connected world, our shared challenges extend beyond our region. Terrorism has become a major threat for us all. In India, we have seen its face closely for three decades. And, we see it with the clarity that comes with it.

Terrorism is changing in character and expanding in its reach. Internet has made recruitment and call to violence self-generated. It also feeds off money laundering, drug trafficking and arms smuggling.

We have to deepen our bilateral security cooperation. But, we need a comprehensive global strategy for a global problem. It will require closer security cooperation; but, even more,a policy of no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between nations; a resolve to isolate those who harbour terrorists, willingness to empower states that will fight them; a social movement against extremism in countries where it is most prevalent; and, every effort to delink religion and terrorism.

As I look to the future, we would also need to ensure that outer Space and cyber space remain instruments of connectivity and prosperity, not new frontiers of conflict.

Responding to the region's disasters, combating proliferation, acting against piracy, we can work together on a full range of security challenges.

Honorable Members,

Since my Government entered office, no region has seen more intense engagement on India's part than Asia Pacific region - because we understand how deeply our future is linked to this region. India and Australia can play cricket hard with each other – and I suspect we will next month. But we see Australia as one of our foremost partners in the region.

I was pleased to host Prime Minister Tony Abbott as my first State Guest in September.

It has taken a Prime Minister of India 28 years to come to Australia. It should never have been so. And, this will change.

Australia will not be at the periphery of our vision, but at the centre of our thought. So, we stand together at a moment of enormous opportunity and great responsibility. I see a great future of partnership between India and Australia and, a shared commitment to realize it.

Prime Minister Abbott started us on this new journey in September. I have come here to set our two countries more firmly on that course. With your help, and with the help of the great people of India and Australia.

I wish you the best for hosting a great and successful World Cup Cricket early next year.

Thank you all.

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Baba Saheb Ambedkar was a person with universal vision: PM Modi
April 14, 2021
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Baba Saheb Ambedkar had a universal vision: PM Modi
Baba Saheb Ambedkar gave a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage: PM
We have to give opportunities to the youth according to their potential. Our efforts towards this is the only tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar: PM

Namaskar!

Present with me in this programme, Gujarat Governor Acharya Shri Dev Vrat ji, the country’s Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Education Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Singh ji, Chairman of UGC Prof. D.P.Singh ji, Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ami Upadhyay ji, Association of Indian Universities President Prof. Taj Pratap ji, all dignitaries and friends.

Today when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar ji's birth anniversary also connects us with that great yagna and also with the inspiration of the future. On behalf of the grateful nation and all the countrymen, I pay my respectful homage to Babasaheb.

Friends,

During the freedom struggle, millions and millions of our freedom fighters dreamt of a harmonious and inclusive India. Babasaheb made the beginning in realizing those dreams in the form of the Constitution to the country. Today India is creating a new future and achieving new dimensions of success by following the same Constitution.

Friends,

Today, the 95th meeting of the Vice Chancellors of Association of Indian Universities is taking place on this auspicious day. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University has announced the establishment of 'Babasaheb Samarasta Chair'. The four books written by Shri Kishore Makwana ji have also been released on Babasaheb's life, his thoughts and ideals. I congratulate all the dignitaries involved in these efforts.

Friends,

India has been the mother of democracy in the world. Democracy has been an integral part of our civilization and our way of life. Babasaheb laid a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage. When we read and understand Babasaheb, we realize that he was a person of universal vision.

There is a clear vision of Babasaheb's philosophy in Shri Kishore Makwana ji's books. While one of his books introduces Babasaheb’s “Jeevan Darshan” (philosophy of life), the other focuses on “Vyakti Darshan” (individual philosophy). Similarly, the third book highlights Babasaheb's “Rashtra Darshan” (national philosophy), whereas the fourth book “Aayam Darshan” will introduce his philosophy of dimension to the countrymen.  These four philosophies are no less than modern scriptures in themselves.

I would like our new generation in colleges and universities to read more and more of such books. All these dimensions, whether it is the inclusive society, the concern for the rights of the Dalit-deprived society, the question of upliftment and contribution of women, or Babasaheb's vision on education and especially on higher education, will offer an opportunity to the youth of the country to understand Babasaheb.

Friends,

Doctor Ambedkar would say:

"My three revered deities are -- Knowledge, self-respect and politeness.” Self-respect comes with knowledge and makes a person aware of his or her rights. Through equal rights, social harmony emerges and the country progresses.

We are all familiar with Babasaheb's struggles of life. The position that Babasaheb reached after so many struggles is a great inspiration for all of us. Our education system and universities have this responsibility to carry the country forward on the path shown by Babasaheb Ambedkar. And when it is the issue of common goals and shared efforts as a nation, collective efforts become the means of accomplishment.

Therefore, I think the role of Association of Indian Universities becomes very important. AIU also has the legacy of scholars like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Smt. Hansa Mehta and Dr. Zakir Hussain.

Dr. Radhakrishnan ji would say: “The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature”.

It implies that education should be such which should liberate the person, so that he can think openly, and make something new with a new thinking. He believed that we should develop our education management as a unit of the entire world. But at the same time, he emphasized the Indian character of education. This becomes even more important in the global scenario today.

Here special issues were released on the new 'National Education Policy' and plan for its implementation. These issues are detailed documents how National Education Policy is a futuristic policy, a policy of global parameters. You all scholars are familiar with the nuances of the National Education Policy. The purpose of education that Dr. Radhakrishnan ji spoke about is reflected in the core of this policy.

I am told that this time the theme of the seminar is - 'Implementing National Educational Policy-2020 to Transforming Higher Education in India'. All of you deserve congratulations for this.

I have been constantly discussing NEP with experts. National Education Policy is as practical as its implementation.

Friends,

You have dedicated your entire life to education. You all know very well that every student has his own capability and capacity. Based on these capabilities, students and teachers also have three questions.

First: What can they do?

Second: What is their potential if they are properly taught?

And, third, what they want to do?

What a student can do is his inner strength. But if we add institutional strength to his inner strength, his development becomes expansive. With this combination, our youth can do what they want to do. Therefore, the country’s special emphasis is on skill development. As the country is moving ahead with the mission of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat, the role and demand of skilled youths is also increasing.

Friends,

In view of the strength of skills, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had placed greater emphasis on the collaboration of educational institutions and industries decades ago. Today, the country has immense opportunities, and there are new industries of modern times. India is being looked upon as a future centre of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Robotics, mobile technology, geo-informatics, smart healthcare and defence sector. The country is taking huge steps to meet these requirements.

Indian Institutes of Skills are being set up in three big metropolitans of the country. The first batch of the Indian Institute of Skills has already started in Mumbai a few months ago in December. The Future Skills Initiative was launched with NASSCOM in 2018. This initiative offers training in more than 150 skill sets in 10 emerging technologies.

Friends,

The new National Policy on Education also provides for NETF which emphasizes the maximum use of technology in education. We want all universities to be multi-disciplinary. We want to give flexibility to students so that they can complete courses anywhere easily through the easy entry-exit and Academic Bank of Credit. Every university in the country will have to work together to achieve all these goals. All the Vice Chancellors have to pay special attention to this.

A huge skill pool will be created in our universities for the new possibilities that we can create in the country. All of you are requested to work in this direction more expeditiously and the work should be completed within a stipulated time.

Friends,

The country is rapidly transforming the lives of the poor, Dalits, the victims, the exploited and the deprived following the footsteps of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Babasaheb talked about equal opportunities and equal rights. Today, schemes like Jan Dhan accounts are leading to financial inclusion of every person and through DBT money is reaching directly to their accounts.  The BHIM UPI that was launched for the digital economy has become a great strength for the poor today. Today, every poor person is getting a house and free electricity connection. Similarly, work is in the progress to provide clean water to villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

When there was a corona crisis, the country stood up for the poor and the labourers. There is no discrimination among the poor and the rich in the world's largest vaccination program. This is the path shown by Babasaheb and these are his ideals.

Friends,

Babasaheb always emphasized on women empowerment and made many efforts in this direction. It is with this vision that the country is giving new opportunities to its daughters today. From toilets at home and schools to combat roles in the army, women are at the centre of every policy of the country today.

Similarly, the country is working to spread Babasaheb's message to the people. The places associated with Babasaheb are being developed as Panch Teerth.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to dedicate the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre. Today, this Centre is emerging as a centre of research on social and economic issues and on Babasaheb's life.

Friends,

Today, we are close to 75 years of independence, and we have goals for the next 25 years. The country’s future, the future goals and successes of the country are linked to our youth. It is our youth who will fulfill these resolutions. We have to give opportunities to the youth of the country to the best of their ability.

I am confident that our collective resolve and conscious efforts of the education world will realise this dream of a New India.

Our efforts and the hard work will be our tribute to Babasaheb.

With these good wishes, I once again thank you all very much. I wish you all the very best on Navratri. I also extend my special greetings on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Many thanks.