MEA issues guidelines for Australia-bound Indian students

MEA issues guidelines for Australia-bound Indian students

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New Delhi:  Concerned over the on-going attacks on its students in Australia, India on Friday issued guidelines for those wishing to study there which included immediate registration with the Indian High Commission or Consulate and seeking details of local security situation.

India emphasised that Australian government should ensure that such attacks are stopped as it was its primary responsibility and noted that Canberra was doing "more than they can" in this direction.

"I think it is a terrible thing that the attacks are continuing. And frankly we would hope that everybody who is in a position to do something about it, primarily the Australian government, will succeed in the efforts to stop this," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters here.

However, he ruled out putting a ban on travel by Indians particularly students to that country, suggesting that the present situation did not warrant it.

"I think that (ban) is a matter of judgement. If you look at the size of the population and the number of people involved I think you have to take a call depending on whether or not the level of danger and threat to our people is so high that it justifies a ban... In the case of Australia, we haven't made any such judgement," Menon said.

Instead, the External Affairs Ministry issued guidelines under three categories -- those leaving for Australia, arriving in that country and living there.

Describing Australia as "cooperative and helpful", Menon said it was making efforts to stop these attacks. "They are doing much more than they can," he said.

Commenting further whether there should be a ban, he said "there are other cases where we issue an advisory. There are a series of steps we can take depending on our judgement on how great the danger is."

Besides asking the students to "seek details about the security situation in and around their university and place of stay, as well as policing arrangements from the university authorities," the MEA guidelines also suggested them to get in touch with the local Indian associations once they land there.

Noting that "Australia has become one of the popular destinations of Indian students for pursuing higher studies," the ministry advised the students to carefully apprise themselves of the "ground realities" while going there for the studies as there have been incidents of robbery and assault.

The students have also been asked to get proper insurance from a reputed firm, learn about their legal rights and practice the right kind of behaviour and actions as they represent India in Australia.

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