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India, Australia to discuss student attacks, trade, terror
Published on 3 Mar. 2010 12:09 AM IST
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India and Australia will discuss student attacks, trade, terror during the visit of the Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s three-day visit to India. Fresh attack on Indian, Sri Lankan in Australia Smith to “try and solve” Indians’ problems Australia satisfied with security plans India wants ‘credible answers’ from Australia Stephen Smith acknowledges that some attacks seem racist Stephen Smith promises regular information on probe Against the backdrop of continuing concerns in India over targeting of Indians in his country, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith arrives here later Tuesday on a three-day trip that will also have counter-terrorism and friendly hockey diplomacy on the agenda. Mr. Smith’s visit to India starts with a meeting with Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. The two ministers are expected to discuss burgeoning economic relations and progress in a feasibility study undertaken to explore the possibilities of a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Australia. It will be time for some hockey diplomacy in the night. Smith will join Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal to watch Australia and India play a Hockey World Cup game that the two sides have designated “Friendship Match”. A hockey buff, Smith had played in the under-age hockey team for his home state of Western Australia. The match will also mix fusion music as William Barton enthrals crowds with the didgeridoo, an ancient instrument crafted by Australia’s indigenous people from hollowed out wood. Serious diplomacy will take over Wednesday when Smith will hold talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, their second meeting after the two met in London January-end, on a wide range of bilateral issues, including the security of Indian students in Australia. “(I) will brief the Indian government on the actions taken by authorities to create a safe and rewarding study environment for Indian students in Australia,” Mr. Smith said in a statement in Melbourne prior to his departure. “Krishna and I will discuss Australia’s and India’s close cooperation in trying to solve the recent problems faced by some Indians in Australia,” he added. There have been a series of visits to India by top Australian leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his deputy Julia Gillard, to allay concerns in the wake of assaults on Indian students that are suspected by many in India to be racist in nature despite Canberra’s denials. The assaults on Indian students started in May last year, putting bilateral ties under stress. ‘Zero tolerance for assaults on Indians’ Hours within a fresh incident of violence against Asians in his country, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said they have zero tolerance for assaults on Indians or against anyone else who comes to Australia. “Regrettable, we know as I said to my Parliament that there have been some racial or racist overtones to a small number of those assaults and we condemn them absolutely,” he said. Mr. Smith pointed out that several steps have been taken to ensure that when people visit his country they have an “enjoyable and safe experience”.

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