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'Attacks on Indians 'damaged' bilateral ties'

world Updated: Jun 13, 2009 21:32 IST

Australia's top diplomat in India has admitted that the spate of attacks on Indians in his country has "damaged" bilateral ties and fears that the upcoming free trade talks may remain 'quarantined' among other things as a fallout.

Blaming the Indian media, particularly the 'voracious' 24-hour cable news channels for the 'negative coverage' of the attacks, Australian High Commissioner in New Delhi, John McCarthy said that the relationship between the two nations will take time to recover.

McCarthy, who was quoted by The Weekend Australian in Melbourne said that due to such coverage by India's TV channels fear and outrage was being created among Indians in both countries.

"While our bilateral relationship with India --including talks over a free-trade agreement -- would probably remain quarantined from the fallout, the new, negative perception of Australia would linger," he said.

"It's done damage," McCarthy said adding "You can't have three weeks of that sort of television without the perception of Australia among Indians being damaged. The question is how much?

"My sense is we will overcome it, but it's going to take time and it's going to need a pretty close look at how we prepare students for Australia. We need to be much more conscious of their safety," he said.