Following the signing of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA) earlier in the week, Hon. Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister for Commerce and Trade, and the Australian Minister for Trade, Hon. Dan Tehan, visited the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sydney. They were accompanied by a 35-member delegation which included Federal Member for Berowra Julian Leeser, High Commissioner of India Manpreet Vohra, Indian Consul General Manish Gupta, Councillor Reena Jethi and Federal Candidate for Parramatta Maria Kovacic.
Addressing the assembly, Mr. Goyal described that his visit to the mandir was like “coming home”. He said, “My connection with the BAPS organization is truly deep. It comes from within.”
Mr. Goyal and his family have been a part of many key moments in BAPS history, such as the inauguration of the BAPS Mandir in London in 1995 and His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj's 75th birthday celebrations in Mumbai, later in the same year.
Mr. Goyal said he has been inspired and guided by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj throughout his life. Referring to a murti of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Mr. Goyal said, “Did you see the smile on his face? It was radiant. It was infectious. It just elevates your spirit and the goodness in you.
"To me, Pramukh Swami always embodied devotion, truth, detachment and knowledge. Knowledge is important for all of us, but that knowledge has to be pure. With that knowledge, we have to serve society, and service can only happen if you are spiritual."
Speaking about BAPS’s worldwide charitable contributions, Mr. Goyal emphasized to Mr. Tehan, "This is one set of people who are completely and selflessly devoted to giving back to society. It is in their blood. It is in their knowledge. It is in their training."
In his address, Mr. Tehan called the AI ECTA a ‘unity’ agreement which will turbocharge the close, long-standing, and highly complementary economic relationship between the two nations.
Both Mr. Tehan and Mr. Goyal referred to the ‘close friendship’ and ‘brotherhood’ between them, the two countries, and the two nations’ leaders, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.