New Delhi pressed down on the diplomatic pedal in an effort to protect tens of thousands of Indian students in Australia, who are feeling vulnerable after a series of recent attacks on colleagues in both Melbourne and Sydney.
Indian High Commissioner to Australia Sujatha Singh and Consul-General Anita Nair met Victoria Premier John Brumby in Melbourne and sought increase protection for students.
In a statement, Brumby said that “any incidence of crime or violence against any member of Victoria’s Indian community is one too many, completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated”.
According to Brumby, 47,000 Indian students came to study in Victoria in 2008 and it was paramount that their educational and life experience was safe and enjoyable.
In New Delhi, Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy was summoned to South Block by Secretary Neelakantan Ravi and India’s “concern and anguish” was conveyed to him.
“It was conveyed to the Australian High Commissioner that, continuing sense of unease and insecurity, for Indian students in Australia, can have an adverse effect, in a sector that holds much promise,” the foreign office spokesman said.
McCarthy was told that India expected some “decisive action” to protect its students.
In Bangalore, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters that New Delhi was worried about the safety of Indian citizens, particularly students in Australia. ,
He said the Indian government is in constant touch with Australian authorities “with a view to addressing issues concerning the well-being and physical safety of our students.”
In a related development, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vyalar Ravi told HT, “It is the Australian universities which advertise in India inviting students to study lucrative courses there. We want them to ensure safety and security of our students.”