Innocent

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Innocent

  1. 1. NEW DELHI: Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith, who had earlier admitted to some of the attacks against Indians in Australia being racist, will discuss the steps taken by Canberra to prevent violence against Indians with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna on Wednesday. Smith, who arrived in India on Tuesday on a three-day visit, will also discuss security for the Commonwealth Games. "We have zero tolerance for assaults on any individual in Australia. We have zero tolerance for assaults on Indians in Australia...Regrettable, we know as I said to my Parliament that there have been some racial or racist overtones to a small number of those assaults and we condemn them absolutely," said Smith when asked about another incident of attack on an Asian in Australia. Briefing reporters on the visit, foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said Krishna and Smith would discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relationship including "safety, security and well- being of Indians, which is a serious cause of concern". He said the issues had been taken up at every level with the Australian government. India has stressed that the steps need to be "effective". Prakash also added that Australia has taken a "slew of measures" to address the issue. Prior to his departure, Smith said he would also brief the Indian government on Australia's recently announced Counter-Terrorism White Paper. Asked specifically about the paper, Prakash only said the two countries share a "similar outlook" on the issue. "(I) will brief the Indian government on the actions taken by authorities to create a safe and rewarding study environment for Indian students in Australia," Smith said in a statement in Melbourne prior to his departure. "Krishna and I will discuss Australia's and India's close cooperation in trying to solve the recent problems faced by some Indians in Australia," he added. The two ministers are expected to discuss burgeoning economic relations and progress in a feasibility study undertaken to explore the possibilities of a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Australia.

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