External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will take up the issue of attacks on Indian students in Australia with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith on the sidelines of a conference on Afghanistan here.

In his bilateral meeting with Mr. Smith, likely on Thursday, Krishna is expected to convey deepening concern in India over the continuing attacks on Indian students that are widely seen in India as “racist” in character despite Canberra’s repeated disclaimers, sources said.

Mr. Smith is expected to update Mr. Krishna on the steps taken by the Australian authorities to check the attacks, which New Delhi feels can put a strain on bilateral ties.

Following mounting outrage in India over the fatal stabbing of Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old Indian student, early this month, the Australian government recently handed over to India a police dossier of high-profile attacks on Indians over the past year.

The dossier, prepared by Victoria Police, was handed over after Mr. Smith telephoned his Indian counterpart Krishna Jan 11 to express his condolences over Garg’s murder.

Mr. Krishna is in London to attend a conference on rebuilding Afghanistan. The conference is co-hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Besides Mr. Smith, Mr. Krishna is also expected to hold bilateral talks with his British counterpart David Miliband and the EU representative to the conference.

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