Australia Just Paying ‘Lip Service’ to India’s Concerns

Australia Just Paying ‘Lip Service’ to India’s Concerns on Khalistan, Academic Says

PM Modi with his Australian counterpart - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.05.2023
Indian PM Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that he had been “assured” of “strict action” against separatist elements by his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. Modi said that it was “unacceptable” for New Delhi that India-Australia ties were being damaged by Khalistan supporters .
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is just “paying lip service” to New Delhi’s concerns on growing number of attacks on Hindu temples Down Under by radical Sikh entities, or Khalistan supporters, an academic has told Sputnik.
At least four Indian temples in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have been defaced by pro-Khalistan graffiti this year. There have also been several instances of the Indian honorary consulate in Brisbane being targeted by radical Sikh protestors.
Australia has also been witness to several referenda on a separate Sikh homeland, or Khalistan, by controversial groups such as Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

Anti-India Efforts Not Really on Australians’ Minds

Professor Joe Siracusaa political expert and the dean of Global Futures at Curtin University, noted that most of the anti-India actions witnessed in recent months were not committed by ordninary Australians.
It’s worth noting that Indians, Chinese and Britons have been among the fastest growing immigrant communities in Australia.

“They don’t come from just ordinary Australians. I mean ordinary Australians, they’re not really the kind that just hate people because they’re different, because about five out of six Australians come from someplace else anyway,” the expert said, noting the country’s immigrant heritage. “Australia can promise something, but [Albanese] really can’t deliver it. I mean you have to pass legislation to do that kind of thing,” Siracusa stated.

Siracusa, however, underscored that the issue of desecration of Indian temples didn’t figure prominently on the minds of Australian policy-makers and public.
Siracusa explained that Australians were more occupied with the upcoming referendum to alter the Constitution on having an Indigenous Voice to Parliament written into the nation’s founding document.

‘Important for Albanese to Make the Gesture to Modi’

Siracusa said that although Canberra would be unable to address India’s concerns, it was still “important for Albanese to make the gesture to Modi”.
Modi during talks with talks with Australian PM  - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.05.2023

He noted that Australian universities relied heavily on business from Indian students, which form the second-largest international student cohort after the Chinese.
Foreign students in Australia pay a higher fee than those holding Australian passports or having a permanent residency (PR). Additionally, they are also viewed as crucial for the economy of local communities.
“And if there is violence perpetrated against an Indian student or there’s violence around these temples, it doesn’t play well in the recruiter’s office in New Delhi or these other places. They’re worried a little bit about polishing up the image of Australia as a good destination for higher education,” Siracusa stated.
The academic also underscored the significance of Indian graduates and students to sustain various sectors such as healthcare, hospitality as well as other areas of the economy.

‘Surge in Migration Responsible for Hate Crimes’

Siracusa said that a surge in migration levels and the rise in the number of asylum seekers could be a reason behind the rising number of hate crimes.
Australia enforced one of the strictest border lockdowns in the world during the Covid pandemic, creating widespread labour shortages.
However, since re-opening its borders starting 2021, Canberra significantly increased its immigrant intake to address skill shortage in the economy.
“Because Australia needs these kinds of people, as a matter of fact. I’m sure there are hate crimes here, just beneath the surface. Australians can be anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-everything else. But on the surface, the Australians are well behaved,” the academic said.

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