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Your Excellency, Prime Minister Tony Abbott Friends from the Media

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I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India. We are fortunate to host him as our government`s first guest on a State Visit to India, because we consider Australia to be a very important strategic partner and we wish to deepen our relations further. 

India and Australia are peace-loving democratic nations, blessed with great diversity in their societies. We are linked by the Indian Ocean. Australia can make a very important contribution to India`s development. India is a resource-constrained country and can meet a considerable part of its requirements from Australia, a country blessed with abundant natural resources. There are enormous possibilities in the area of manufacturing and infrastructure. In the coming years, India can emerge as a major source of highly skilled human resources. 

We have growing cooperation in science, education and skill development. More than 400,000 people of India origin in Australia are making significant contribution to the Australian society and also constitute an effective bridge of friendship between the two countries. 

India and Australia must not only work together with a sense of priority to promote peace and prosperity in Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, but also take on the responsibility of bringing together all other countries in this endeavour. 

Prime Minister Abbott and I have had detailed discussions on enhancing our cooperation in all areas of our relationship. 

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At first, I would like to convey to Prime Minister Abbott the deep sense of gratitude of 1.25 billion people of India for the efforts he has made to bring with him two ancient statues that were stolen from India. 

The moment we had conveyed our request for the return of these statues, his government took this decision with great speed. Prime Minister Abbott and the people of Australian have shown enormous respect and regard not only for our ancient treasure, but also for our cultural heritage. 

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The signing of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement is a historic milestone in our relationship. It is a reflection of a new level of mutual trust and confidence in our relationship and will open a new chapter in our bilateral cooperation. It will support India`s efforts to fuel its growth with clean energy and minimize the carbon footprint of its growth. 

Regular and robust dialogue provides a strong foundation for a strong strategic partnership. Prime Minister Abbott and I have decided to enhance our political dialogue and increase our security and defence cooperation, to which we attach great importance in our relationship. We will also enhance exchanges between elected representatives in the Parliament and state assemblies of the two countries. 

There has been no prime ministerial visit from India since 1986. I have accepted Prime Minister Abbott`s invitation to pay a bilateral visit to Australia after the G 20 Summit. We will try and meet each other at every available opportunity. We will increase our dialogue at senior officials` level, including in the political, economic and security areas. We will also increase our consultation and coordination in important forums like the Indian Ocean Region Association and East Asia Summit. 

We will hold our first bilateral naval exercise in 2015 and intend to enhance our exercises in the coming years. Our two countries can contribute to a variety of objectives in the Indian Ocean Region, including in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. We will also join together in the commemoration of 100 years of the First World War, in which our soldiers fought together. We will also increase our security cooperation to counter terrorism, cyber threats and other security challenges. 

There are vast possibilities for increasing trade and investment cooperation. Prime Minister Abbott has been supportive of Indian investors in Australia and has assured me of speedy clearances for Indian investment proposals in the pipeline. I invited Australian investments into India, including in infrastructure and high technology areas. 

We are concerned about the decline in bilateral trade in the last two years. We have committed to an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). 

I am delighted that we are announcing fresh funding for the Australia India Strategic Research Fund, which supports research activities in areas like clean energy, water, health, environment and food processing. 

I am pleased that Prime Minister Abbott has announced a new Colombo Plan to increase the flow of Australian students to India. Increase in youth exchanges will deepen mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries. 

Prime Minister Abbott has assured me of full cooperation in the area of skill development, which is a priority sector for me. We have also decided to promote cooperation in higher education, especially at the level of universities, to create world class educational opportunities for Indian youth. 

Our two countries are bound by shared love for cricket and hockey. Today, I have requested Prime Minister Abbott for cooperation in establishing sports universities in India. 

We welcomed the growing people-to-people ties, reflected in the increasing flow of students and tourists between the two countries. 

We cooperate with each other in multilateral forums. I thanked Prime Minister Abbott for the continuing Australian support for India`s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. 

I am keenly looking forward to the G 20 Summit. I am confident that under the leadership of Prime Minister Abbott, G 20 will be able to effectively address the global challenges. I also conveyed to him our best wishes for hosting the 2015 Cricket World Cup. 

I am very satisfied with our meeting today. I believe that it will set a new direction in our relationship. I am confident that we will make further progress on our bilateral agenda before the November Summit. I am also confident that Australia will emerge as a strong strategic partner for India a very important part of our Look East Policy. 

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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.