PM Modi, Aus counterpart jointly lay foundation stone of ‘Little India’

Sydney: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart on Tuesday jointly laid the foundation stone of ‘Little India’ gateway to be built in Harris Park here as a symbol of the friendship between the two nations and to recognise the diaspora’s immense contribution.

Harris Park is a hub in Western Sydney where the Indian community celebrates festivals and events such as Diwali and Australia Day.

“Recognising diaspora’s role as a bridge between India & Australia. PM @narendramodijoined PM @AlboMP for the foundation stone laying ceremony of ‘Little India’ Gateway to be built in Harris Park, Parramatta, Sydney, inhabited by a large Indian community,” the Ministry of External Affairs tweeted.

“The Gateway will serve as a symbol of India-Australia friendship and diaspora’s immense contribution to it,” the tweet read.

“Harris Park is a thriving, dynamic, multicultural hub known for its blend of cultures and large Indian population,” the City of Parramatta said on its website.

“Sometimes referred to as ‘Little India’, Wigram, Marion and Station Streets in Harris Park are home to more than 20 eateries, a variety of shops selling colourful saris, glittering arm bangles and Indian spices that will transport you straight to Mumbai, it said.

The announcement to declare Harris Park as ‘Little India’ was made by Australian Prime Minister Albanese as he welcomed Modi at the community event at the Qudos Bank Arena.

“I had the opportunity to welcome the Prime Minister @AlboMP ji on the Indian soil in Ahmedabad. Today he joined me in unveiling the foundation stone of ‘Little India’ here: PM @narendramodi,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

Modi thanked Albanese for this special gesture.

“Thank you my friend Anthony,” Modi said during the community event.

He said this is the recognition of the Indian community to Australian society.

“I thank the premier of New South Wales, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Parramatta and Councillors for this special honour,” he said.

He also asked the community members present at the Arena to take Prime Minister Albanese the Harris Park to taste Indian chaat and sweets.

“I’ve heard that Chatkazz ‘Chaat’ and ‘Jalebi’ from Jaipur Sweets at Harris Park are very delicious. I want you all to take my friend Australian PM Albanese to that place,” he said.

The first proposal for officially naming the area ‘Little India’ was made in 2015.

Earlier attempts to formally declare the suburb as ‘Little India’ was stalled after the Geographic Names Board told Parramatta Council to stop using the term in marketing material because it “creates confusion”.

Harris Park, a small suburb next to Parramatta is home to migrants from Lebanon, Italy, Greece, and China.

In the last 10 to 15 years it has become the go-to spot for Indian migrants, local media reports said.

A 2021 census revealed that 45 per cent of the 5,043 Harris Park residents have Indian roots, local media reports said.