Perth: Downplaying the recent attacks on
Indian students, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday
said India is a "very important" country with which it will
strive for "future partnerships".
"In my point of view as a Prime Minister it is a very
important relationship for Australia, that is India. India is
a huge economy, neighbours of ours here in the Indian ocean
and I believe both the countries are strong democracies,
strong economies and have enormous potential to for
partnerships in the future," Rudd said during a Community
Cabinet meeting organised here.
"The Australian communities and governments--state and
the federal take care of foreign students...they are our
guests," he said. Community Cabinet is a unique arrangement
where the Prime Minister and his Cabinet is grilled by
commoners on various subjects.
Over 100 attacks involving Indian students were reported
in Australia in the past one year.
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government
is working to end such violence especially against Indian
"We have seen instances of violence involving Indian
students... People are not sending their daughters and
sons to Australia thinking that their children will not be
safe here. ...Victorian government and Police are seized
of the issue," Gillard, who is also the country`s Education
Rudd said that Gillard and the country`s Foreign Minister
Stephen Smith have visited India and have successfully
assuaged the concerns of the government.
"She (Gillard) has been on visits to India particularly
to (allay) these concerns. It was a successful visit. The
Foreign Minister has done the same," he added.
The Australian government is working on new immigration
scheme to put a check on influx of foreign students as also
curb the role of "shonky"agencies involved in bringing such
students to the Island nation.
"We are cracking down on shonky agencies who are involved
in bringing students here. We have asked all such agencies to
be re-registered here," she added.
Indian companies primarily have interests in coal, gas
and other resources sector of Australia while Canberra sees
India as a good market for its energy and minerals reserves.