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'India still concerned for students in Aus'

world Updated: Aug 03, 2009 16:19 IST
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Ahead of Foreign Minister S M Krishna's maiden visit to Australia, India has said it was still concerned over the safety of its students studying in the country though New Delhi did not want the issue to "infect" bilateral relations.

Hoping that the Indian student attack issue will not affect the Indo-Australian relationship, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said in Melbourne that the matter will only die down when attacks on students stop or become rare.

Tharoor was quoted as saying in "The Age" newspaper that the Indian government had no interest in allowing the crisis to "infect" relations between the two countries. However, he said India was still concerned about safety of its students.

"There is only one meaningful yardstick, and that is that if these attacks cease, or become so infrequent that no one, neither students nor the press, can claim that there is a continuing pattern of anti-Indian violence," he said.

"It's not yet clear that we have reached that point, but I hope we are getting there," he added.

Krishna would be in Australia from August 6-10 and during his stay he will visit Sydney and Melbourne to hear first-hand the problems being faced by Indian students and will discuss the matter of their safety and security with the State leadership.

Tharoor called for "action that calms this down so it ceases to be as loud a political issue in India as it has become.