Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha wrote to Australian High Commissioner Barry O Farrell on Thursday to declare November 4 as optional holiday for Diwali to strengthen ties between India and Australia.

In his letter he said, “it will be a great gesture if government of Australia kindly consider Diwali on Nov. 4 as an optional holiday for people of Indian origin or similarly placed persons as its the day of rejoicing and festivities.”

The Congress MP later tweeted and said, “To consider if for people of Indian origin and Indian Nov 4 can be declared as an optional holiday in Australia. It will gladden millions.”

He also requested in the letter to reduce education costs and fees to attract Indian/foreign students as there is a 80 percent drop in students’ admissions post Covid. “I suggest if the fee which is pitched at very high level than that charged from the locals is reduced, the universities/institutions which are suffering losses in the post Covid era will be benefitted immensely. It will act as an incentive since travel is reopened.”

He urged to initiate a direct flight between Delhi and Australia besides Mumbai and Australia as Delhi never had a direct flight to Australia. In the emerging QUAD regime the bonds of friendship will get further strengthened.

“Today on Maha Navmi had the pleasure of receiving HE Hon Barry O Farrell AO the Australian HC to India & his Political Secy Jack Taylor. After an absorbing conversation I placed three requests before the High Commissioner to strengthen Indo Australian bonds” he later tweeted.

As per reports Australia’s Indian diaspora numbers approximately 700,000, and it is the second-highest taxpaying diaspora after the British, making it clear that it is a group making significant contributions to Australia’s economy.

–IANS

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