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PM says decision to light up Opera House sails for India projects image of Australia to the world



Prime minister Anthony Albanese says the decision to light up the Sydney Opera House sails with the colours of the Indian flag tonight will only help cement relationships between the countries.

The sails will be lit in a show of respect during the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's first visit to Australia in nearly 10 years.

NSW Premier Chris Minns came under criticism earlier this month for deciding not to light the sails for the King's Coronation, citing the cost to the taxpayer.

Albanese told 2GB's Chris O'Keefe there were other appropriate displays for the King's Coronation in Canberra.

READ MORE: Australia, India friendship enters 'T20 mode', Modi says

The Federal Government is covering the cost of lighting up the sails tonight.

"One of the things about lighting up the Opera House is it projects our image to the world," Albanese told O'Keefe.

"It wasn't our decision about the King's Coronation, state governments took various decisions around the country," he said.

"I was in the UK so I wasn't a party to any of those decisions."

Albanese said it was a major market for both Australian tourism and education.

"There are 1.4 billion reasons why we want the Indian flag on the opera house because it it is the largest population in the world," he said.

"Two thirds of those 1.4 billion people are under the age of 35, we want a relationship with them, we want them to come to Australia and bring their dollars."

The sails were last lit up for the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence in August last year.

READ MORE: Green hydrogen, defence talks on the table at Albanese-Modi meeting

POOL Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Admiralty House in Sydney. May 24, 2023 Photo: Janie Barrett

Albanese and Modi this morning signed documents committing to a new migration agreement as well as a partnership on green hydrogen.

A Little India plaque has been unveiled as the gateway to Harris Park after a push from locals to have the western Sydney area renamed during Modi's visit.

READ MORE: Sydney suburb gets Little India plaque during Modi's visit

Last night more than 20,000 people attended Australia's Indian Diaspora at Homebush's Qudos Bank Arena.

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