Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received a “rockstar’s welcome” during his several day tour of Australia. Attracting large crowds to Sydney’s Allphone Arena and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Mr Modi has established that Australian citizens are attracted to his message of international co-operation and extreme-right Hindu nationalism.
Achieving a popularity that is more common to someone like U2 singer Bono than a foreign leader, Mr Modi received adoration from everyday Australians as well as Australian celebrities such as cricketing legend Brett Lee. It seems Australians adore Mr Modi because of his support of hard work, meritocracy, and right-wing Hindu nationalist group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Most of all, Australians love a man who can admit their mistakes, and after Modi helped spread anti-Muslim violence throughout Gujarat, killing between 900 and 2000 people, he offered self-reflection and sincere apology.
While Martha Nussbaum described the violence as “ethnic cleansing … carried out with the complicity of the state government”, when Modi was asked by New York Times reporter Celia Dugger if he had any regrets, he revealed that he regretted not handling the media better. As a people with a leader who also wishes he could hand the media better, it is no wonder why Modi is so popular in Australia.
Mr Modi’s final stop on his 10 day, three-country tour is Fiji. While in Fiji, the Indian leader recommended that the country could improve tourism by encouraging Bollywood to shoot films in Fiji. It’s this kind of attempt to foster increased trade between countries, as well as threatening to deport Bangladeshi Muslims from India, that has made Modi such a beloved international figure.