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Why go to Australia for higher education? Krishna to Indian students

Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:20:51 PM, IANS

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna

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New Delhi: Questioning the choice of Australia as an education destination by Indian students, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Thursday asked Canberra to ensure that Indian citizens are safe in that country while rebuffing Australia’s claim of “hysteria” in India.


In the wake of rising concern over a spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia, Krishna advised Indian students not to go to that country to pursue frivolous courses.


“I had my own doubts about Indian students going to Australia to pursue higher studies. I can understand if it is at the level of IITs or other such institutes of excellence,” Krishna told reporters when asked about the recent killings of Indian students in that country.


“I was shocked to see students had gone to study there in courses that they don’t need to go for, like hairstyling,” he said.


“There are any number of excellent institutes in India - in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. I would suggest to parents that they should be discreet in choosing higher eduction institutions for their children,” he said.


Krishna met Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese on the sidelines of a book launch here and sought assurances about the safety of Indian students in Australia.


Krishna dismissed Australia’s contention that the Indian reaction over the issue of attacks was “hysterical”, and asked Canberra to step up measures to ensure the security of Indian students.


“None of us needs to be hysterical but all that we expect is that Indians, whether they are students or otherwise, should be safe in the countries to which they go for pursuing their higher studies,” he said.


He was reacting to reports of the Australian government asking the Indian leadership not to whip up “hysteria” over the issue.


However, Varghese has denied the reports quoting his government’s acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean as having described the Indian reaction as “hysterical”. “He did no such thing,” the envoy said.


Reacting to Krishna’s remarks, Varghese said it was for the Indian students to decide which course to study and stressed that Australia continued to welcome Indian students.


Downplaying the impact of recent assaults on Indian students on Australia’s attractiveness as an education hub, the envoy said there was a decline in the number of international students, but it had more to do with the global recession and the rising value of the Australian dollar.


There were an estimated 115,000 Indian students in Australia in 2009, the highest number after the Chinese.


The envoy underlined that it was “a high priority” for the Victoria police to track the killers of Nitin Garg, an Indian student who was stabbed to death in Melbourne last week. Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria.


Varghese added that mobile information vans were deployed by the Victoria police in the vicinity of the scene of crime to catch the culprits.


Garg, 21, an accounting graduate, was knifed in West Footscray suburb of Melbourne while on way to work last Saturday. He staggered to Hungry Jack’s restaurant — where he worked — and pleaded for help before collapsing.


He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he died. Garg hailed from Punjab.












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