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Can't assure full safety on attacks: Kevin Rudd

November 12, 2009 23:41 IST

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday said he cannot provide "iron-clad guarantee" that the attacks on Indian students in his country would not recur, saying it will be irresponsible or dishonest to do so.

Rudd however said he had assured India that Australia would follow "zero-tolerance" approach towards such incidents during talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi earlier in the day.

"As Prime Minister of Australia, I accept responsibility for the criminal justice system there. But I cannot provide an iron-clad guarante that such attacks would not occur in the future," Rudd told reporters here winding up his three-day visit to India.

"I cannot say to you that because, we are dealing with such large numbers -- half a million foreign students – that you can rule out possibility of such incidents. I cannot say that. That will be irresponsible and dishonest," he said.

He also rejected a suggestion that there is growing racism in Australian society saying that it was a country of 300 languages and over 43 per cent of its residents were either born overseas or had a parent who was born overseas.

"What I can say is that in terms of overall levels of criminal violence in Australia be it assualt or murder, comparable in the western standards, is very low. Looking at what's right and what's wrong will clearly help to deal with the things better in the future," he added.

 

What India told Rudd

 

Earlier, India conveyed its concern over the violence against its

students in Australia, which declared that it is its responsibility to ensure their safety and security.

The issue of continuing attacks on Indian students over the last six months came up during a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kevin Rudd.

Both the Prime Ministers also explored ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of defence, security, trade, industry and culture, but the visiting dignitary made it clear during his public functions earlier that Australia cannot change its policy on supplying Uranium to India because of its long-standing policies.

"I have conveyed my concern to Rudd over the safety, security and the well-being of our students in Australia," Singh said in his remarks in the presence of Rudd after their meeting in Hyderabad Hou

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