With a fresh attack on an Indian in Melbourne, the targeting of Indian students in Australia is set to dominate proceedings when Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd comes to India on a two-day visit on Wednesday with an agenda to broaden the scope of bilateral ties.
Rudd starts his visit from Mumbai with a bout of cricket diplomacy. He will be watching the India-Australia one-day international match on Wednesday evening and is expected to meet top Indian business leaders in Mumbai.
Rudd will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his cabinet ministers on Thursday, aimed at bolstering ties that have suffered in the past few months because of the allegedly racist targeting of Indian students in Australia.
The two leaders are expected to discuss a host of bilateral and global issues, including the global financial crisis, climate change, terrorism, trade and investment. The two sides may announce the formal start of negotiations for a free trade agreement during Rudd's visit.
With bilateral civil nuclear deals with five countries in the bag, the Indian side is expected to make a fresh pitch for sale of uranium from Australia.
Australia has stuck to its oft-stated position that it does not sell uranium to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is likely to be repeated during the visit.
Another attack on a 22-year-old Indian student in Melbourne on Sunday by a group of Australians has put the spotlight back on an issue that has provoked the Australian leadership to embark on a massive damage-control exercise.
Sai Ratan Tiwari, a resident of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, was on his way to a temple in Melbourne along with a friend Sunday when he was cornered by two Australians. They punched him in his face and told him insultingly: "In this place, there is no home for you."
Australia has taken a slew of measures to ensure the safety of Indian students and has also denied any racist angle to these attacks.