This is from INDAUS Inc Press release.
INDAUS Inc welcomes Mr Oscar Fernandes, MP and General Secretary of Indian National Congress in Sydney, and demands Visa on Arrival in India for Australian Citizens!
INDAUS Inc honoured visiting AICC General Secretary and Member of Parliament, Mr Oscar Fernades, on 17th September 2012 at Chutney Indian Restaurant in Harris Park, NSW. The sumptuous and highly interactive dinner was attended by almost fifty prominent Sydney siders, representing various segments of Indian community living in Sydney.
Dr. Yadu Singh, president INDAUS Inc, made the welcome speech and walked the guests through the agenda for the evening. Dr. Singh, Anagan Babu and the INDAUS Inc team then introduced each and every guest to Oscar Fernades and thus bestowed them the privilege to shake hands and have a brief chat with the highly influential visiting Indian politician. Abhilash Narendran, INDAUS Inc’s Executive Committee member, formally introduced Oscar Fernades and gave a snapshot about Fernades’ public life and his achievements.Oscar Fernades’ down to earth nature was highly appreciable and it was clearly visible in his dealings with all who attended the dinner.
Dr Yadu Singh informed Mr Fernandes that there are about 400,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia. This is approx. 2% of the total Australian population and we have an increasing importance in several constituencies during elections. This number is increasing daily as India is the top source of migrants for Australia. He also assured Mr Fernandes that Australia is not a racist country and that Indians are not suffering racist or adverse treatment in this country, despite the false impression created by a segment of Indian media. Dr Singh also raised few significant issues, that affect Indian Australians, with the visiting politician.
Dr. Singh brought up the demand for genuine dual citizenships for Overseas Citizens of India, to Oscar Fernades’ notice. He reiterated that Indians living overseas love India more than anyone else and are loyal to their motherland, India. There should be no valid concern in giving approved [following a thorough vetting by Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs] Overseas Citizens of India full political rights. Congress leader agreed to discuss this matter with Mr Vayalar Ravi, Hon Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs.
VISA ON ARRIVAL FOR AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS:
Dr Singh put forward the suggestion of providing ‘On Arrival’ Visa status to Australian Citizens, so that Australian citizens including Indian Australians who don’t have OCI cards will not be required to apply for Indian visa, if and when they travel to India. This should hopefully help tourists’ flow to India. Mr Fernades has promised to raise our demand with Ministry of External Affairs so that the ministry will explore diplomatic options to provide the new Visa option for Australian Citizens.
VISIT TO AUSTRALIA BY INDIAN PM:
Dr Singh reminded that there has not been any visit to Australia by any Indian Prime Minister for 26 years. Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi was the last PM who visited here. With 4 Australian Prime Ministers visiting India during this period and PM Julia Gillard visiting India in November, Indian PM’s visit to Australia is long overdue. With Australian Uranium sale to India sorted, there is no real obstacle against such visit. Australian community including Indian Australians are waiting for the Prime Ministerial level visit from India soon. Oscar Fernandes responded that there would be reciprocal visit from Indian side soon.
While addressing the gathering, Mr Fernades emphasized on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the current and coming era. He also mentioned that the Indian family values, lifestyle and their emphasis on saving something for rainy days played a big role in providing India, a strong immunity from the after effects of GFC and the recent Euro zone crisis. He felt the overwhelming impression that Indians are doing well in Australia.
Oscar Fernades was honoured with an INDAUS Plaque, which was jointly handed over to him by Stanley D’Cruz, Anagan Babu and Dr.Yadu Singh, along with Sanjay Patel, a prominent Sydney businessman.
Released by Anagan Babu, Secretary, dated 21st September, 2012 www.indaus.org.au, www.facebook.com/indaus.nsw
Yadu Singh/Sydney/24th Sept, 2012
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One correction: Julia Gillard visits India in mid October… not November of this year.