High-level dialogue with Australia over ’senseless’ violence: PM (Lead)

June 9th, 2009 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said his government will engage with Australian authorities in a “high-level dialogue” to ensure the security of Indian students in the wake of what he called “senseless violence” against them. The government also cautioned Indian students in that country to “show restraint” and not retaliate.
“I am appalled by the senseless violence and crime, some of it racially motivated, against our students in Australia,” Manmohan Singh told parliament.

“I propose to engage the authorities in Australia in a high-level dialogue with a view to taking stock of the situation and providing adequate security for Indian students,” he added.

Referring to his conversation with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, Manmohan Singh said Rudd assured him that any racist attack on Indian students would be strongly dealt with.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said that the Australian government had given “fullest assurance” that steps would be taken to ensure the safety of Indian students.

Expressing concern over reports of Indian students retaliating, Krishna cautioned them to show restraint.

“I would like to urge the Indian students to be patient and show restraint. They have gone there (Australia) for higher studies. They should concentrate on that rather than retaliate,” Krishna told reporters outside parliament house.

According to media reports, a 20-year-old Australian was stabbed in Melbourne Monday after he allegedly racially abused a group of Indian students.

Indian students have now formed groups to patrol sensitive areas in Melbourne in the wake of racial attacks.

Reacting to reports of a reduction in the number of staff members at the Indian embassy in Australia due to cost-cutting, Krishna said the government will be looking into the issue. The issue was raised in parliament by Sushma Swaraj, Deputy Leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha Monday.

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