This was External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s curt message to his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith, who called him up during the day to assure that the Australian government was committed to ensure the safety of the students from India.
“The minister recalled that Australian leaders had, time and again, reassured India that the Australian authorities were treating the incidents of assaults with utmost seriousness. However, the incidents seem to be continuing,” an External Affairs Ministry statement quoted Krishna as telling Smith during their telephonic talks.
“I spoke to the Foreign Minister of Australia. I have drawn his attention to the increasing assault, some of them fatal, on Indian students. And I have requested him to expedite the investigation so that the culprits can be brought to justice,” Krishna told newsmen later.
As Krishna made known India’s deep concerns over the developments, Smith conveyed to him the Australian government’s condolences on the tragic deaths of Indian citizens and said that the Australian Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had already condemned the attacks. He reiterated the need for immediate corrective measures, pointing out that the issue had consistently figured in the Indian Parliament too.
Krishna emphasised to the Australian Foreign Minister that “non-redressal of this vital issue would cast a shadow” on the otherwise excellent bilateral relations between New Delhi and Canberra. He urged that the Australian government should immediately ensure that the police authorities Down Under deal with ongoing investigations with sensitivity and a sense of urgency.
Smith conveyed that he was conscious of the need for an early breakthrough in the ongoing investigations and that the Australian government was according top priority to ensure the continued well-being of Indians nationals.