Wednesday 16 September 2009

Australia should prevent attacks, says India

India expresses concern over recent attack on Indian students studying in Australia. The Federal government of External Affairs has also asked the Australian Government to take strict action against the culprits.

NEW DELHI, INDIA (SEPTEMBER 16, 2009) ANI- Expressing concern over recent attack on Indian students studying in Australia, the Federal government of External Affairs asked the Australian Government to take strict action against the culprits.
Vishnu Prakash, spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs, said on Wednesday (September 16) that India had kept in touch with Australian leadership to take strict action against the culprits for the recent assault on four Indian men.

Two Indian nationals and two other persons of Indian origin, were assaulted by a group of individuals at Melbourne late in the evening on 12th September. One of the Indian nationals, Sukhdip Singh sustained serious injuries and is undergoing treatment.

Prakash added that the police had arrested four individuals who have since been released pending further investigations.

"We are concerned at the recurring attacks on Indians in Australia. The matter was taken up by our high commission in Canberra with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith of Australia today. Our High Commission has also written to the Premier of Victoria. The Indian Consul General in Melbourne is in contact with authorities in Victoria including the police authorities. As we take note of the assurances given to us, including from the highest levels of the government and provincial authorities of Australia, it is our earnest hope that the concerned authorities would take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of Indians in Australia," said Prakash.

Prakash said that concerned authorities in Australia have been asked to implement the measures as soon as possible in order to prevent reoccurrence of assault on Indians.

"We hope that the latest incident is investigated with care and the culprits are dealt with, as per the laws of the land. It would also help, if various measures being contemplated by the Australian side, in addition to those that have already been announced, are put in place at the earliest, to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents in the future," said Prakash.

Prakash added that officials of the Consulate General of India in Melbourne, are also in touch with the members of the family of the victims, who have been assured all assistance by the Consulate.

A series of violent assaults on Indian students was reported from Australia in last few months.

The attacks, which Indian media have called race-based, caused some diplomatic discomfort between the two countries and sparked angry protests in India. Australia's government condemned the attacks but said racism was not behind them.

Around 93,000 of the 430,000 foreign students in Australia are Indians, up from around 30,000 only a few years ago.

The latest attack has added to fears that violent attacks and robberies of Indian students could seriously damage Australia's third-biggest export earner, the A$15 billion ($12.16 billion) market for overseas students.

Earlier, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also raised concerns with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, and several senior ministers have been wheeled out by the Australian government to try to avert a foreign student exodus.

Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith had also formed a new task force to deal with the problem, led by former special forces commander turned National Security Adviser Duncan Lewis.

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