External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Monday said the Australian government was “duty bound” to investigate the fatal stabbing of Indian youth Nitin Garg in Melbourne, and bring the culprits to book.

Such unfortunate incidents would only vitiate the atmosphere of trust, belief and cordiality in the relationship between the two countries, told journalists here.

The Minister said he was in constant touch with the Australian High Commission and the Indian High Commissioner in Australia and getting all updates on Sunday’s incident.

Asked whether it was a racist attack or motivated by something else, he said: “The fact is that an Indian student has been murdered and the Australian government is duty bound and morally bound to go for investigations and then bring the culprit to book. That is the least the Australian government can do and that is what we expect.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had said the government of Australia and those of the provinces would take the most stringent action according to the law of the land. “I hope even in this case the police authorities will accelerate the process of investigation and bring the culprits to justice,” Mr. Krishna said.

So far bilateral ties had been very strong, the Minister said, pointing to the three high-level visits by the Australian political leadership to India and his own visit to that country last year.

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