Education exports in jeopardy after Indian student attacks
Footage of police breaking up the protest used to highlight a year of violence against Indian students in Victoria have led to Indian activists burning effigies of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The diplomatic response has been high-level; meetings between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his counterpart Manmohan Singh, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith and India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna have occurred.
The recent attack last week, which left one Indian student in a coma, has brought attention to the issue of some 70 students assaulted in the past year.
Minister for Trade Simon Crean has emphasised the importance of safety for the education sector: “We have a responsibility to ensure their safety. There’s no point sending your loved ones here to study if they feel under threat.”
Indian students make up more than one fifth of Australia’s foreign student population, and with education our third largest export, the Indian student body makes up a sizeable segment of our export customers.
The Indian media has labelled Australia racist, increasing the strain between the two countries.