INDIAN cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was on hand to lend star power this morning when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and India’s sports minister Vijay Goel launched a new partnership to increase sporting co-operation between Australia and India.
Mr Tendulkar joined Mr Turnbull, Mr Goel and Australian Sports Commission chief Kate Palmer at ceremony in the gardens of the of the University of Mumbai.
The Prime Minister and Mr Tendulkar watched children playing netball and doing callisthenics as the media and excited onlookers crowded around them.
He was then introduced to Mr Tendulkar’s English mother in law Annabel Mehta, a former social worker who has spent more than 40 years working to help some of the poorest people in Mumbai.
Mrs Mehta introduced Mr Turnbull to some young girls from one Mumbai’s poorest slums who are being taught to play sport by her organisation Apnalaya which was founded in the 1970s by a former Australian Consul General in Mumbai.
Mr Turnbull praised the work saying that sport builds up social capital.
“In sporting clubs whether it’s a cricket club or a football club or a surf club — a very a very Australian and democratically Australian institution — you have people from every profession, every religion, every background mixing together: it is sport ties communities together,” Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Turnbull said the sports partnership between Australia and India will advance co-operation in four areas: “athlete and coach training and development, sport science, sport governance and integrity, and grassroots participation.”
Under the plan Victoria University and the University of Canberra will both work with India to assist in the establishment of a national sports university similar to the Australian Institute of Sport.
The visit to University of Mumbai was the last public event Mr Turnbull’s visit to India.
“This trip has been all about a deeper more engaged collaboration between Australia and India, in economics, in sport, in health, in science, in education and of course in national security,” Mr Turnbull said.
He said India is now “enormously important” to the region: “It is evolving to an economic superpower and one that will have the regional military and strategic clout that comes with that type economic strength.”
On a more sombre note, speaking about the sabre rattling from North Korea in recent days the PM said “the whole world is concerned about the reckless and dangerous conduct of the North Korean regime (which) threatens regional stability and global peace”.
He said “the time has come for all parties but in particular China, which has the closest relationship with North Korea, to bring pressure to bear on North Korea, through the sanctions regime and other means to ensure that they sees this reckless and danger conduct.”
Mr Turnbull was due to depart India around lunchtime after paying a formal visit to the Governor of Maharashtra state.
Online Source: The NEWS