India today appreciated the efforts of the Australian government in ensuring safety and security to Indians which had become an "irritant" in bilateral ties following a spate of attacks on students from the community.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna who is here on a three-day visit to attend seventh ministerial dialogue said measures taken by the Australian Government to address concerns over the safety and well being of Indian students in Australia had a positive impact on the students.
"Indian students feel quite secure and feel quite confident, and they feel that can pursue their studies without any anxiety," he said. More than 100 attacks against the Indian students have been reported in Australia since June 2009.
"I remember, the issue of the attacks on Indian students and members of the Indian community was at its height. I had assumed charge as External Affairs Minister barely three months earlier, when I visited Australia then," he said recalling his visit here in 2009.
My discussions then with Australian Government, both at the State and the Federal levels, focused on issues of concern to the students, such as security, availability of accommodation and other support services, transport concession, greater financial assistance, regulation of rogue agents and dodgy institutions and introduction of effective orientation and assimilation processes both in India and Australia, he said.
"Since then both the federal government of Australia and the government of Victoria Province have introduced many measures to improve the safety and security of the students and these measures have had a positive effect," he noted, he while addressing a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd.
He said his previous visit to Australia in 2009 had been plagued by "anguish and worry" caused by a series of high-profile attacks on students from his country. "But on this visit that worry is missing, that anguish has disappeared," Krishna said.
The two leaders also welcomed the Council of Australian Governments' International Students Strategy for Australia, launched in October 2010. The Ministers also noted that the next Joint Working Group on Education and Training is expected to be held in Australia in April 2011 and the annual Education Minister's deluge in India in September 2011.
The establishment of a new Australia-India Education Council will be further progressed through these meetings. Krishna also cited the changes in the skilled migration programme had significantly impacted on Indian students already studying in Australia, many of whom had taken heavy loans to pursue their studies.