Canberra: Australian tunnelling expert Arnold Dix who played a crucial role in the safe rescue of miners trapped inside an Uttarakhand tunnel has affectionately referred to 41 evacuated workers as his "adopted Indian sons."
The emotional proclamation came after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese publicly commended Dix for his pivotal role in the miraculous rescue mission.
"Thank you Anthony Albanese, my Prime Minister, for your kind words on my small role in the miracle rescue of my 41 adopted Indian sons in India," posted Dix on X after the Australian PM spoke words of appreciation for him at the Australian Parliament.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Friday lauded the exceptional contributions of Professor Dix in the successful rescue of 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in India's Uttarakhand state.
Albanese expressed deep admiration for Professor Dix, who serves as the president of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, emphasising his expertise in handling such critical situations.
"I rise to acknowledge a truly great Australian, Professor Arnold Dix, and for what he has done in once again improving the relations between Australia and our great friends in India. Today, because of him and his hard work alongside the Indian authorities, 41 people are alive, safe and free. This is an extraordinary story. For over two weeks, the world has been gripped by these 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in northern India," said Albanese.
The Australian PM highlighted the meticulous and perilous nature of the rescue operation, quoting Professor Dix's assertion that a wrong move could have resulted in catastrophic consequences for everyone involved. "As we know only too well, that's the sort of story that often ends in tragedy. But it didn't. And that's where Professor Dix comes in," he added.
"These 41 lives have been saved, families have been reunited, and our friends in India are quite rightly rejoicing. And so to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I say I'm very pleased that an Australian was able to come to India's aid at this time," said the Australian PM.
Quoting Professor Dix's sentiment on helping friends, Albanese emphasised the debt owed by both Australia and India to this great Australian. The PM recognised Dix's significant contributions, saying, "Professor Dix summed it up best when he said, it's about helping your friends. So two nations are now in his debt Australia and India. And so to this great Australian, to his big heart, and to his expertise in a very narrow area," he also said.
Notably, international tunnelling expert Professor Arnold Dix provided important technical support on the ground in the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue operation.
An event was organised by the Australian High Commission in India to honour the commendable work of Professor Dix.
The successful evacuation of all 41 workers trapped in Uttarakhand's Silkyari tunnel marked a significant achievement, earning praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the courage and patience of the workers, their families, and the dedicated rescue personnel.