Chandigarh, July 13 (IANS) An Australian delegation Monday assured the Punjab government that Indian students, the majority of whom are from Punjab, are completely safe in the country despite the recent spate of racist attacks against them.
The delegation, headed by Colin Walters of the department of education employment and workplace relations and officials from the department of public safety, met Punjab’s Chief Secretary Subodh C. Agarwal here Monday and assured him that Indian students were completely safe in Australia.
The delegation is touring India to strengthen Australia-India education relations and to outline steps that would ensure safety of Indian students pursuing higher studies in Australia.
Over 50 students have been injured in attacks in Australian cities, most of them being in and around Melbourne.
Agarwal asked the delegation to ensure security of all Indian students at all costs. Expressing concern over the safety of the Indian students, the chief secretary suggested that to strengthen cultural-academic relations between India and Australia, frequent education fairs be organized at the government level with more emphasis on mutual understanding and interaction with both countries.
He also suggested that an orientation programme for students should be organized at New Delhi before they finally leave for Australia to pursue their studies so that they get attuned to the socio-cultural scenario of Australia.
The Punjab assembly here had recently passed a resolution urging the central government to take up the matter regarding security of Indian students, especially from Punjab, in Australia.
Walters said that it was unfortunate that the recent attacks on Indian students had caused some diplomatic discomfort between the two countries and sparked angry protests all over.
He said that the Australian government strongly condemned such attacks and has ordered an inquiry into these.
Walters expressed deep anguish and concern over allegations of racial discrimination levelled against the Australian government saying that the Australia government is a strong votary of international peace and had launched a crusade against the acts of racial discrimination since 1975.
He pointed out that there were nearly half a million students from across the globe who were pursuing their higher education in Australia and the government was committed to safeguarding their interests.
“Ours is the biggest nation for demonstrating the cosmopolitan character of the student community. The Australian government has also evolved a national strategy for foreign students to ensure their safety.
“I can also assured swift action against criminals nabbed who have attacked Indian students. The situation is under control and the Indians are living as a community in our country,” said Walters.