Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked cricketing ties between India and Australia and said millions of Indians mourned when the great Australian spinner Shane Warne died last year.
Modi addressed a well-attended community event at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, one of the country's biggest indoor stadiums, along with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.
He gave examples of yoga, cricket, films and the cooking show Masterchef' to highlight the strong bonds between India and Australia.
"Our cricket relations have completed 75 years. Our off-the-field friendship is as profound as the interesting cricket matches on the cricket field," Modi said.
"Last year, when the great Shane Warne passed away, millions of Indians mourned along with Australia. It felt as if we had lost one of our own," he said.
Warne, 52, one of the greatest spinners cricket has ever seen, passed away in Thailand in March last year. He was found unresponsive in his villa and could not be revived.
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It was a twin blow for Australia after wicket-keeping legend Rodney Marsh succumbed earlier in the day and Warne had tweeted condolences to his senior.
"Our lifestyles may differ, but Yoga now connects us. We've been friends for a long time because of cricket. Tennis and films, however, are now connecting us. We may prepare food in different ways, but Masterchef has brought us together," Modi said in his community address.
"Many women cricketers from Australia participated for the first time in the Women's Premier League (the women's equivalent of IPL). It's not only in moments of joy that we stand together, but a true friend is also there in times of sorrow," he said.
Modi arrived in Australia here from Papua New Guinea. His visit (May 22-24) comes after he met with Albanese, US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima.
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