Australian PM Scott Morrison greets ‘good friend’ Modi on Holi

Australian Premier Scott Morrison on Sunday extended greetings to his “good friend” Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of Holi and praised India for doing a “tremendous job” in making COVID-19 vaccines that are helping the broader world combat the pandemic.

Morrison took to Twitter to wish Modi and the Hindu community in Australia.

“Wishing our Hindu Australian community, my good friend @narendramodi and all the people who are celebrating it, a happy and colourful Holi!,” Morrison tweeted.

He also wrote “Holi ki shubhkamnaye” in Hindi.

He also posted a video message on Twitter and noted that last year the festival was overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that this year even though the pandemic will still affect the festival, people can still “look to the future with much greater confidence”.

India is doing a “tremendous job” in making vaccines that are helping the broader world, he said.

Under India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which translates into Vaccine Friendship, the country has been providing vaccines to nations across the world — from immediate neighbours to nations in Latin America and Africa — and is a significant source of supply to the COVAX facility.

More than 58 million Made in India coronavirus vaccine doses have reached about 70 countries in recent weeks.

Morrison also noted India’s role in Quad — the grouping of India, the US, Japan and Australia.

On March 12, Quad leaders — Prime Minister Modi, his Australian counterpart Morrison, US President Joe Biden and Japan premier Yoshihide Suga — held their first summit under the framework of the Quadrilateral coalition to discuss a range of issues facing the international community, amidst growing global concerns over China’s increasing assertiveness in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

In a firm message to China, Biden told leaders of the Quad coalition that a “free and open” Indo-Pacific is essential to their countries and vowed that the US was committed to working with its partners and allies in the region to achieve stability amidst Beijing’s coercive actions.

In a joint statement released after the meeting, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to quadrilateral cooperation between their countries.

“We will continue to chart out a way forward together,” Morrison said.

“In a spirit of unity, I wish you all a very happy Holi,” the Australian Prime Minister said.

Holi will be celebrated on March 29 this year.

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