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Modi's singing, dancing fans arrive for Australia address

17 november 2014, 21:10

 Thousands of fans Monday readied for a public address by Narendra Modi during the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Australia in 28 years, with many arriving on a train decked out in the country's national colours, AFP reports.

The so-called "Modi Express" saw more than 200 supporters board a train from Melbourne for the 12-hour journey to Sydney, singing and dancing in the carriages ahead of the event at a stadium in the capital's Olympic Park on Monday evening.

"After a long, long time, such a phenomenon, such an excitement, such a wave has come, which is unparallelled," one of Modi's supporters on the train, Rakesh Raizada, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"This is a new revolution, you can call it."

Modi, who won India's widest electoral victory in three decades in the April-May polls, was greeted like a rock star in New York in September at an event the Sydney organisers hope to match.

More than 20,000 people mostly from the Indian diaspora in Australia will pack the stadium, although some have travelled from as far as the United States, Singapore and New Zealand.

Modi's trip Down Under -- for the G20 leaders' summit in Brisbane and a state visit -- comes just two months after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's tour of India, during which the two countries sealed a long-awaited nuclear energy deal.

India's foreign ministry described Modi's visit to Australia as part of its efforts to "re-engage" Australia and its businesses, and he will address parliament in Canberra on Tuesday.

The Indian leader is also set to meet with industry leaders and sign several agreements on narcotics control, social security, tourism and cultural cooperation.

There are around 450,000 people of Indian origin in Australia, including many from the student community.

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