• Wednesday, June 07, 2023

ASIA

Why Biden told Modi ‘You are causing me a real problem’ in Hiroshima

Besides Biden, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese also told Modi about a challenge he is facing in Australia related to the Indian leader’s upcoming visit to Sydney.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with US president Joe Biden. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi had an pleasingly unsettling moment in Hiroshima in Japan where he recently went for the G7 summit when US president Joe Biden and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese came up to him to ‘complain’ that they were facing a deluge of requests from prominent citizens to attend events where he would be speaking over the next one month.

Modi is due to visit Australia during his ongoing three-nation tour that includes Japan and Papua New Guinea and the US in what will be his first state visit next month.

In Australia, the Indian prime minister will speak with Australian chief executives, business leaders and interact with Indian expats at a community event in Sydney on Tuesday (23). On June 22, Modi will go to the US following an invitation from Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden. The US first couple will host the Indian leader for a state dinner at the White House.

But both Australian and US leaders are facing challenges to accommodate too many requests.

According to sources, Albanese said he is unable to accommodate every request that he has received for tickets to the community programme in Sydney. The venue, which has a capacity of 20,000, has been sold out but the Australian premier said he was still getting request for more tickets.

He also recalled his visit to India a few months ago when he was welcomed by 90,000 people at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat, according to sources.

Biden was also facing a similar problem and he told Modi that he should take his autograph.

“You are causing me a real problem. Next month we have a dinner for you in Washington. Everyone in the whole country wants to come. I have run out of tickets. You think I am kidding? Ask my team. I am getting phone calls from people I have never heard of before. Everyone from movie stars to relatives. You are too popular,” he was quoted as saying by sources.

“Mr Prime Minister, you have made a significant impact on everything, including what we are doing in the Quad. You also made a fundamental shift in climate change. You have influence in the Indo-Pacific. You are making a difference,” he added.

Modi, Biden and Albanese were joined by Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida for a Quad summit in Hiroshima.

Modi reached Papua New Guinea from Japan on Sunday where he will co-host with his local counterpart James Marape the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit on Monday (22). He was given a warm welcome in the Pacific island-nation by Marape and the local Indian diaspora.

He will wind up his tour by visiting Australia.

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