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Fanfare for Modi at Sydney event set to boost image at home after poll loss

Thousands of expatriate Indians thronged Australia’s largest entertainment and sporting arena in Sydney on Tuesday to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first visit in nine years.

The fans came from across the country — on chartered flights from Melbourne dubbed “Modi Airways” where a one-way ticket cost 249 Australian dollars ($165.17) and on the “Modi Express” coach from Canberra and Brisbane. The donations-funded event was held at the Qudos Bank Arena — the same venue where the Backstreet Boys performed in March and where Sam Smith and Lizzo will take the stage later this year.

Cheers of “Modi, Modi” filled the sprawling arena as the Indian leader entered alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.