Australia wary of drop in Indian students following attacks

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (ANI): Australian High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese has said that recurring incidences of attacks on Indian students in Australia will discourage them from coming to Melbourne.

Some attacks on Indian students in Australia may have been racially motivated, Varghese said, days after the killing of an Indian in Melbourne.

"I am expecting a decline in the number of students in 2010. I think there probably going to be number of actors behind that. I think the global economic crises may be one, I think the exchange rate of Australia dollar may be another, I think the cost of living in Australia may be another one and I would certainly accept that prospects of safety any prospective students particularly among the parents of perspective students might well deter some from coming to Australia," he said.

Australia was viewing these incidents seriously, Varghese added.

"Australia takes these attacks seriously. We are taking measures to address the problem. We have increased police resources, given police wider powers to search for weapons. We have changed the law to allow tougher penalties for the hate crime and we are ensuring the more is being done to brief Indian students before they leave for Australia and after they arrive in Australia on what it is to live in Australia and what steps they should take," he said.

India's Foreign Ministry has issued an advisory to its nationals studying in Australia, flagging up "several incidents of robbery and assault" despite stepped up measures by police to confront the attacks. (ANI)

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