NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has paid tribute to Gandhi on his first stop of his tour of India, laying a wreath at the Raj Ghat memorial in Delhi today.
Mr Foley is in India on his first international trip as NSW Labor Leader from 13 – 19 June, with Daniel Mookhey MLC, the first Australian Indian member of NSW Parliament.
“It is an honour to pay tribute to the great Mahatma Gandhi here in Delhi,” Mr Foley said.
“Gandhi was a true inspiration – leading the charge for independence and freedom from British rule for the Indian people.
“Gandhi’s focus on adherents of many religions living side by side is a message relevant to our multicultural society in NSW.
“His (Gandhi’s) legacy of freedom, justice and peace is still so relevant today, more than sixty years since his death.”
Mr Mookhey said: “It is a great honour to accompany Mr Foley to the Raj Ghat, paying tribute to the great Mahatma Ghadi whose presence was and still is felt across the world.”
“It is an incredibly significant gesture for Mr Foley to make his first international trip to India and the first item of his itinerary to pay tribute to the great Mahatma Gandhi.”
Mr Foley is accompanied by Mr Daniel Mookhey, a Member of the NSW Legislative Council and the NSW Parliament’s first MP of Australian Indian origin. Mr Mookhey was the first MP to take the oath of allegiance on the Hindu religious text in Australia.
In India, he will visit Ahmedabad, the largest city in State of Gujarat, and the city of New Delhi. Gujarat has a fraternal relationship with NSW and recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote trade and cultural links between the two jurisdictions.
Mr Foley will also conduct a series of meetings with Australian and Indian political, business, government, industrial and academic leaders.
As of 2012 India has become the largest source of immigrants to Australia in the world. India is the third largest source of overseas students in NSW including more than 440 students at the University of Wollongong alone.
It is the tenth largest economy in the world and a significant trading partner of Australia. In 2013-2014 Australian exports to India totalled almost $8.4 billion, with consistent growth over the following financial year.
Mr Foley said: “India is a key economic partner for NSW and this trip is about pursuing and forging links with the sub-continent.
“The sub-continent is an economic powerhouse and the region has important cultural and economic links to NSW.
“We have to pursue our state’s future economic interests – to that end I am making my first overseas trip as Labor leader to India.”
Mr Mookhey said: “I am proud to be the first Australian Indian member in NSW Parliament, and I am pleased that Luke Foley has chosen India as his first international destination as Labor Leader.
“Labor is committed to forging strong connections in India and the sub-continent.”