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'Australia taking strict action after India's intervention'

June 21, 2009 20:07 IST

Blaming anti-social elements for the attacks on Indian students in Australia, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi today said Canberra was taking strict action to prevent such incidents after the Centre's intervention.

The "inaction" of Australian police earlier had resulted in the increase in such attacks, but now the Australian government was taking strict action after India intervened in the matter, he said at a function in Kochi.

India had seriously taken up the issue with the Australian government. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had talked to his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, Ravi said, adding he himself was in constant touch with the Indian High Commissioner and Consul General in Australia.

Noting that anti-social elements were behind the attacks, he said in some cases the attackers had also used racial words against the Indian students.

Ravi said it was surprising that there was a three-fold increase in the number of Indian students in Australia compared to two years ago.

Nearly 97,000 Indian students are in Australia studying various courses, including medicine, engineering and hospitality, he said, adding in Melbourne alone there are about 50,000 Indian students.

His ministry had taken steps to gather 'data' of students going abroad for studying, Ravi said. 

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