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Australian delegation to visit India to give assurances about safety

world Updated: Jul 02, 2009 23:34 IST

Under fire over a spate of racial attacks targeting Indian students, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today announced that a high-level delegation will travel to India later this week to deliver assurances that this country is a safe destination for pursuing studies.

"It is important to extend Australian hospitality to international students," Rudd said in a joint statement with Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard, while announcing the July 5 to 15 trip of the delegation comprising senior police and other officials from federal and state governments.

The delegation, which will first visit New Delhi after it reaches there on Sunday, "will also travel to major Indian cities to meet with state governments and others to hear about their concerns and reassure them that Australia is a safe destination for Indian students," Rudd said.

The delegation led by Colin Walters, First Assistant Secretary from the Australian Department of Education, will visit eight Indian cities -- Delhi, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore -- during the visit.

The delegation included representatives of Australia's international education and training sector and federal and state government agencies, including from the State Police of Victoria, which has witnessed most of the recent attacks against Indians.