External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Monday urged Australia to speed up investigations into the recent cases of assaults and murders of Indians and cautioned that the non-redress of the issue could cast a shadow on an otherwise “excellent” bilateral relationship.

Mr. Krishna conveyed India’s sentiments when Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith called him over the phone, said official sources.

He conveyed his deep concern at the recent series of attacks especially in the last 10 days, which seem to have recurred after a period of relative calm of a few months. He reiterated the need for immediate corrective measures, pointing out that the issue had consistently figured in Parliament here.

Mr. Krishna recalled the repeated assurances by Australian leaders that the authorities were treating the incidents of assaults with the utmost seriousness and pointed out that the incidents, however, seemed to be continuing. He urged the Australian government to immediately ensure that the State police authorities concerned deal with ongoing investigations with “sensitivity and a sense of urgency.”

Mr. Smith conveyed his condolences on the deaths of Indians in Australia in recent attacks and noted that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard had condemned these attacks.

He said Canberra was conscious of the need for an early breakthrough in the ongoing investigations, and that his government attached the highest priority to the well-being of Indian students. “He conveyed his understanding of the spirit in which Mr. Krishna had underlined the government’s grave concerns,” noted a Foreign Office statement.

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