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Indian community looks forward to new Oz PM

The Indian community in Australia today welcomed the country`s first woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard, describing her a "true friend of India," and said they looked forward to working with her on their concerns.

Melbourne: The Indian community in
Australia today welcomed the country`s first woman Prime
Minister Julia Gillard, describing her a "true friend of
India," and said they looked forward to working with her on
their concerns.

"Gillard`s experience, commitment, intellect and
capacity for hard work to bring about positive changes is
legendary... Moreover, she is a true friend of India and the
two countries will certainly continue to build on the solid
foundations of existing relationships for mutual benefit,"
Australia India Business Council vice chairman Ravi Bhatia

He said the Council welcomed Gillard, who took over as
Premier from Kevin Rudd, as the new leader on behalf of the
Indian diaspora in Australia.

"The smooth change of leadership in Australia within
practically one hour is a tremendous symbol of maturity of
Australian democracy and democratic institutions- something
we should be very proud of," he added.

Ashvini Shekhar, Managing Director of Global pacific
Nominees said Gillard`s taking over was positive for Indian
students in Victoria as she came from the western side of
Melbourne where most of the attacks had taken place.

"The Indian community looks forward to working
together with Gillard, particularly in relation to the plight
of the Indian student community who are going through a
tumultuous time due to recent changes in the Federal
Government`s Immigration policy," Shekhar said.

The changes introduced in the Australian visa policy
have pruned down the list of migration occupations in demand,
leaving the future of many existing students in limbo.

Shekhar said this was an issue which had economic and
humanitarian consequences for the individuals concerned and
"we look forward to an open and progressive dialogue with
Gillard in the near future."

"We hope that her connection to this issue through her
electoral constituents will lead Ms Gillard to take strong
positive steps in improving the conditions of Indian students
already in Australia," he said.

President of Federation of Indian Association of
Victoria (FIAV) Vasan Srinivasan said the community shared and
supported her vision of a unified, prosperous country.

He dubbed her election as Prime Minister as `historic`
and referred India`s example of appointing a woman to the
country`s top job.

"Nevertheless her commitment to Australia as a
multicultural country is without question and we the (Indian
community) look forward to working with her and her government
in dealing with the issues concerning our community and
country," he said.

Congratulating Gillard, Sydney-based Cardiologist Yadu
Singh said he hoped she, along with the Immigration Minister,
would bring fairness on issues concerning foreign students,
including the recent visa capping bill.

He also said the Labour party should reverse its
policy on uranium sale to India.

"I would like her and ALP to change its policy in this
regard and sell uranium to India. I also hope that she works
actively on India-Australia relations as there are many
commonalities with two countries," he said.

Federation of Indian Student Association spokesperson
Gautam Gupta also expressed happiness over the news and said
it was now an opportunity for the Prime Minister to recreate
the strong links with Asian neighbours that are required for a
prosperous future.

"On behalf of all Australians of Indian descent, I
congratulate her on being elected to the highest office,"
Gupta said while asking her to have a continued dialogue for a
better and more inclusive society.

He said Gillard`s assuming the new office was a great
source of encouragement to people throughout the world who
believe in democracy, freedom and equality of opportunities.


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