Tony Abbott was in India © Getty Images
Tony Abbott was in India © Getty Images

New Delhi: Sep 5, 2014

A day after he met cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and other sport greats – Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott drew a parallel between India and Australia which revere its cricket stars.

“…as I discovered yesterday, Australian cricketers are at least as revered in this country as at home and this will only increase now that Brett Lee is to become the latest Bollywood star in a new Indian-Australian film co-production,” Abbott said.

He was addressing Indian industry leaders during a luncheon meeting organised by industry chambers including CII and Ficci. Abbott is in India for a two-day official visit. A large business delegation has accompanied the Prime Minister.

Yesterday in Mumbai, Abbott was also given life-time membership by the Cricket Club of India. Abbott also said that this is not his first visit to India. “As a student, I spent three months travelling around much of northern India. I was conscious of the historical links: the Indian soldiers who’d been with us at Gallipoli and in Palestine and who, in a later war, had passed with our own into captivity at Singapore,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that he is excited about India as it is the land of contrasts and of the most ancient spirituality with the most modern technology. ”I was fascinated by a country that was both exotic and familiar. Not only was that a formative period in my life; it also left me with an abiding sense that India would soon make its mark in the wider world,” he added.