Attacks on Indian students will not be tolerated: Rudd


New Delhi: Allaying India’s concerns over attacks on Indian students in his country, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Thursday underlined that such “criminal attacks” would not be tolerated and assured that his government was doing “everything possible” to ensure their safety.

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“As prime minister of Australia, I am deeply disturbed and disgusted by attacks of violence against any foreign students studying in our country as our guests,” Rudd said in a foreign policy speech on India-Australia relations at the Indian Council for World Affairs.

“They have been criminal attacks targeting Indian students for the little money they earn to support their studies. These attacks will not be tolerated,” he stressed.

“They will be dealt with by the full force of the Australian law enforcement and criminal justice systems,” said Rudd, who began his two-day visit to India Wednesday in the shadow of fresh attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

New Delhi was quick to condemn these attacks and hoped that the Australian government will take effective steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Rudd stressed that the Australian government was working with all state governments to “make sure everything is done to protect overseas students and make their experience in Australia a positive one”.

“The Australian government is committed to doing its utmost to guarantee that the sons and daughters Indian parents entrust to the care of the Australian community remain safe and come home with a valuable education and wonderful memories,” he said.

He, however, added in a realistic vein that although no government can guarantee that no acts of violence will occur, India and Australia should “calmly work together to deal with future challenges”.

India recently overtook China to become the largest source of overseas students in Australia. Around 100,000 Indian students study in Australia.

Rudd lauded around 250,000 people of Indian origin living in Australia for their contribution to Australian society, economy and nation.

Earlier, speaking to India’s business leaders, Rudd underlined the importance of Indian students to the Australian economy and said they were “welcome guests in Australia”.

“They are important for the Australian economy and we want them to stay amicably in a cordial manner,” said Rudd, during an interaction with business leaders at the Taj Mahal hotel here.

“The Australian government is committed to do all that is physically possible to ensure that all international students in Australia have safe and rewarding experience,” he said at a luncheon meeting hosted by industry chambers CII, FICCI and Assocham here.’