The Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans is travelling to India to try and reassure students that his country is a safe place to study.
Senator Evans will be the first Federal Government minister to visit India in the wake of a series of racist attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. The media was awash with reports on the 'hunted' Indian students and the government itself had expressed its concerns.
AdvertisementApparently Indian students are an attractive business proposition for Australian varsities, which too have made plain their dismay. Immigrant students too took out protest rallies.
Senator Evans told Sky television there is no doubt that publicity about recent attacks on international students has heightened concerns in India.
"Part of what I intend to do on this visit is to try and reassure Indians that we're a safe place to study, that we're a multicultural society and we don't have racist attitudes to people," he said.
"And Indian people are welcome to work, visit and study in Australia."
He said the number of international students in Australia did not appear to have been damaged by recent attacks, and that more international students applied to study in Australia last month, than the month before.
"Recent figures show that the demand from Indian students has continued to be strong and in fact grew a little bit in June," he said.
"So I think we are having some success in convincing people that these are isolated criminal intent activities and not a reflection of the Australian attitude to Indian people."
But an embarrassing security breach in Australia last week showed that not everyone is accepting the message that action is being taken to keep students safe.
A hacker attacked the public website of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), warning the Australian Government to stop the "racist attacks" or more websites will be hit.
The hacker, going by the name of Atul Dwivedi, wrote: "This is a warning message to Australian Government. Immediately take all measures to stop racist attacks against Indian students in Australia else I will pawn all your cyber properties like this one."
The Defence Department was quick to point out that only the external RAAF website was hit and no sensitive information was compromised and says the breach is under active investigation.