Evans welcomes 147 Indians as new Australian citizens

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Perth, Jan 26 (ANI): Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans has welcomed 147 Indians sworn in as new Australian citizens, while acknowledging that there had been "some problems with Indian people in this country".

Evans, attending nation's biggest Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Perth, maintained that he did not directly refer to attacks on Indians, particularly in Melbourne, which have plagued relations between the countries since May last year.

"I'm very proud to say we've got 147 Indian people here who've become Australian citizens today," he told the crowd of new citizens, who gathered under a huge marquee on a sunny, baking hot day," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Evans, as saying.

"Indians have made a great contribution to this country and I'm sure those 147 will too, so welcome to you," he added.

The Minister further invited everyone attending the ceremony to celebrate their commitment to Australia by joining in the affirmation and publicly stating their loyalty and commitment to Australia and its people.

"What we do ask you to do is contribute to Australia, contribute to the richness and diversity and honour the pledge you'll make today. I think people should look at the pledge and understand and take time to think about it, because the pledge is really what you're doing today - you're pledging your commitment to Australia," Evans said.

"It talks about loyalty to Australia, it talks about affirming one's belief in democratic society, it talks about acknowledging the respect for the rights and liberties that you enjoy and other citizens enjoy. And it commits you to uphold and obey - a very important statement of the values that Australians hold dear and the concepts that are at the core of Australian citizenship," he added. (ANI)

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