India on Monday asked Australia to immediately take “corrective steps” to prevent attacks on Indian students and warned “non-redressal of this vital issue will cast a shadow” on bilateral relations.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna conveyed the message to his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith during a telephone conversation.
Krishna expressed “deep concern” at the recent series of attacks, and pointed out that the issue had consistently figured in Parliament.
The assaults — sometimes fatal — on Indian students in Australia have recurred after a period of relative calm of a few months despite repeated assurances from Canberra. An Indian student was killed and another set on fire in Melbourne during the last 10 days.
An external affairs ministry statement said Krishna recalled that Australian leaders had time and again reassured India that the authorities were treating the incidents of assaults with utmost seriousness. “However, the incidents seem to be continuing,” it said.
Krishna urged the Australian government to immediately ensure that police authorities deal with ongoing investigations with “sensitivity and a sense of urgency”.
On his part, Smith conveyed his condolences on the tragic deaths of Indian citizens in Australia in recent attacks, and said he was conscious of the need for an early breakthrough in the ongoing investigations into these incidents.
The Australian government attached highest priority to ensure the continued well-being of Indian students, he said.