India on Thursday conveyed to Australia its concerns over the safety of its students there and visiting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he accepted responsibility for the violence and would bring to bear the full force of the law on the perpetrators.
However, on two separate occasions, he pointed out that “no government can guarantee that no acts of violence will occur.”
Mr. Rudd made this point while addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs and during his late-night press conference after his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Responding to questions whether Australia would apologise for the repeated attacks, Mr. Rudd said that as Prime Minister he accepted responsibility for these incidents in conjunction with the State governments.
The attacks on Indian students figured during the talks Dr. Singh held with Mr. Rudd, who said his government would take all necessary steps.
“I have conveyed my concerns to Prime Minister Rudd about the safety, security and well-being of our students and the Indian community in Australia. The Prime Minister assured me that Australia is fully committed to ensuring their security and will take all steps necessary in this regard including strengthening of regulatory measures,” Dr. Singh said in his remarks after the talks.
Dr. Singh announced that building upon the significant expansion of the bilateral relations, both sides decided to upgrade them to the level of “strategic partnership.”
He said the joint statement and joint declaration on security cooperation that was agreed upon, charts the future course of relations. These decisions would strengthen partnership in the areas of political, security and defence interaction, trade and investment, energy and natural resources, science and technology, education, culture and people-to-people contacts.
Both sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues and decided to work towards the creation of an open, inclusive and transparent architecture in the Asia-Pacific region building upon the East Asia Summit process.
Mr. Rudd addressed the Tata Energy Research Institute offering to invest Australian $ 50 million for the bilateral strategic fund; $ 1 million for an innovative Australian-India solar cooling research project and another $ 20 million for research into dryland farming in India.
BJP president Rajnath Singh asked the government to play a proactive role to help the Indian students facing violence in Australia. He said a delegation of the Federation of Indian Students in Australia told him that 1,447 cases were registered by the State of Victoria against Indians during the past one year. In most cases they were “falsely implicated by the police.”