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India asks Australia for firm action over student's death

Strongly condemning the fatal stabbing of an Indian student in Melbourne, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today warned Australia that if such attacks continue, India will be forced to look "for other ways" to address the situation.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2010 19:53 IST

Strongly condemning the fatal stabbing of an Indian student in Melbourne, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Sunday warned Australia that if such attacks continue, India will be forced to look "for other ways" to address the situation.

In a statement, Krishna condemned the knife attack on Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old student, who became the first fatality of New Year in a spate of attacks on the Indian community members continuing from the past year.

"The stabbing of the Indian student is brutal and I hope the Australian government will take necessary action and not force India to look to other ways," Krishna told reporters in Bangalore.

Garg, who hails from Punjab, was studying accounting in Australia.

He was attacked and knifed on Saturday night by a group of unidentified men in a park as he was walking towards a restaurant, where he worked part-time.

Krishna has directed the Indian high commissioner in Canberra and the Indian consul general in Melbourne to closely coordinate with the Australian authorities and extend all assistance to the victim's family as well as members of the Indian community, the external affairs ministry said in New Delhi.

"If attacks of this nature continue, we will have to seriously think what course of action lies with government of India. I am hoping that the government of India will not be pushed to take such positions," Krishna said.

"India will not tolerate (it) any more," he added.

The latest attack comes barely two months after Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited India and assured that "full force of law" would be used to protect Indian students in that country.

The Australian police were quick to deny any racist motive in the attack.

"I think to jump to any conclusion like that is presumptuous and may well interfere with the investigations," Senior Sergeant David Snare told reporters in Melbourne when asked about the allegedly racist nature of the attack.

The attacks on Indian students started in June last year, eliciting protests from India and putting bilateral ties under stress.

The Australian government has repeatedly denied any racist element in the attacks and has put in place a series of security measures to protect Indian students.

Nearly 100,000 Indian students study in Australia, contributing around $2 billion to the country's economy.