Tuticorin deaths: Focus on the facts, not fiction

Sydney, 3 June, 2018

Sterlite Copper smelter in Thoothukudi (Tuticorin), Tamil Nadu (TN), India has been seeing protests for years. This year, however, protests became more intense, because Vedanta Group, the owner of the smelter, started to expand the site.

On 100th Day of the protest, 22 May, 2018, protesters were marching towards the District Administration HQ, despite orders under section 144 of IPC to not do so. When warnings by the authorities to stop the march were not heeded, Tamil Nadu Police fired, leading to deaths of 13 protesters.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoothukudi_massacre

Any loss of life is sad, but we must understand the perspective and the background.

Police resorted to firing to stop the massive crowds from marching to the HQ of the administration.

Chief Minister (CM) of the state Mr Edappadi K Palaniswami initially justified the Police firing.

After further protests and demands from the opposition, the TN Government has now ordered permanent closure of the smelter.

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sterlite-copper-to-be-permanently-closed-says-tamil-nadu-government/article24014605.ece/amp/

As I said above, no loss of life can be justified, but we must understand the facts and the background.

My condolences and sympathies are with the victims and their families. Like others, I am saddened.

The protest in Sydney a few days ago was brought to my attention by several people, including Tamil Australians.

Thiru Arumugam from Sydney said “Firstly my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. 13 people sadly died in the protest. My humble request to all Indian Tamils in Australia is not to jump into the conclusion that Indian Government is killing Tamils. It happened in Tamil Nadu, which is ruled by a Tamil CM. Blaming Indian Govt is not right. Everyone of us are responsible in Australia for any representation of our motherland. We should remember that use of violence or breach of law never achieves our demands.”

Aspects of this protests, especially placards, are objectionable.

A couple of facts need to be considered.

  1. The protesters in Tuticorin shouldn’t have marched towards District administration’s HQ when section 144 of IPC to not do so was in place.
  2. What other option was available to the Police to control the difficult situation? Once you break the section 144, you are not a peaceful march. No Government can allow anarchy.
  3. TN CM supported the Police action.
  4. If Copper smelter is causing so much health issues, why was it not shut down earlier? Which Governments is/are responsible?
  5. This Smelter was established in TN in late 1990s, when UPA was running the Federal Government in India, and BJP has never ruled TN. https://youtu.be/_fdA_bfCZFI
  6. TN government is run by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, not BJP or NDA.
  7. Police firing was unfortunate, but it can’t be called terrorism, forget “State terrorism”.
  8. Anybody who demands The UNO investigation on this matter is anti-India and is intellectually bankrupt. India has a rule of law and is not a tin pot dictatorship.

Sydney protest has the presence of about 50-60 people, some of whom either don’t understand the matter well, or worse, are anti-India. Looking at the pictures of the people, I can recognize only two people, who belong to Indian community. Rest of them appear to be Tamils of non-Indian background, many of whom may have a grudge against India due to India’s perceived hands off approach in ethnic conflicts in India’s neighborhood a few years ago. Looking at the placards in the hands of these two Indians (Anagan Babu and Renga Rajan), I can say that I am very concerned about their ability to understand what they were doing there. I doubt they even took time to read the placards they were given to hold. They were perhaps too busy in getting their pics taken for Facebook posting! (PS: Rajesh Kumar from Sydney says that the most of the protesters in Sydney were from TN, and he personally knows them. I stand corrected. The basic thrust of my commentary however will not change.) I post Rajesh Kumar’s comment below. ūüĎáūüĎá

While people have their right to hold a protest, I too have a right to form an opinion. There is no defamation here. This protest was a public protest, not a private protest. Pics were posted on social media with privacy settings to allow public to see them. Throwing the word “defamation” is childish, immature and ill-informed, and I am least worried about it.

Hugh Mcdermott (MP for Prospect) and Mehreen Faruqi (Greens MLC) are politicians. Politicians can and will do politics, whenever they can. That’s what politicians do for votes.

My issues with this protest is not because of protest per se, because people have a right to protest.

Having said that, I am not sure as to what people achieve by organizing protests in Australia on matters happening in their country of their birth. Many including I believe that such protests achieve nothing except giving some transient self-satisfaction of pics on Facebook and coverage in ethnic media.

My concerns are against the blatant politics, and misrepresentation and distortion of facts of the incident by the vested interests. Contrary to the claims by the protesters, the facts are that Tuticorin firings have no relevance with The UNO, terrorism, State-sponsored terrorism, BJP or “India killing Tamils” nonsense. It has everything to do with law and order problem inside Tamil Nadu, whose CM is obviously a Tamil, and whose Police is also Tamil, who fired on Tamil protesters, who breached section 144 of Indian Penal Code despite the warnings to stop doing so.

It’s a sad & unfortunate situation and I am saddened with the loss of lives, but I am equally sad with blatant and ill-informed politics being played by some people.

I urge people to focus on the facts, not fiction, and stop running an anti-India campaign!

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYafuSingh

PS: An earlier post about Anagan Babu is here. https://yadusingh.com/2014/07/08/indaus-going-for-fresh-elections-on-20th-july-2014/

Interactions with Australia’s High Commissioner to India

Sydney/11 October, 2017


Australian High Commissioner to India (New Delhi), Ms Harinder Sidhu, is in Australia presently.  She is here for the mid term consultations with the Government and various stakeholders. As part of these consultations, she met a select group of Indian Australian community representatives  These reps included people from various segments and faiths. 

An hour-long session in the DIBP offices in Parramatta gave an opportunity for all of us to understand and raise relevant issues. 

From Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN), Abhijeet Martand and I participated. Mr SK Verma participated  on behalf of the Consulate General of India in Sydney. 

We emphasized the role of Indian Australian community as the bridge between India and Australia and their usefulness in enhancing the relations between Australia and India. I pointed out how we (community) took up the matters during students’ troubles in 2009-10 and helped counter “Australia is racist” campaign by Indian media.  I reiterated that then Australian Government did not utilize the community meaningfully in countering the campaign by Indian media. 

Some wanted to be listed with the Govt agencies for people to contact them when needing help, but we expressed our strong view that no such listing etc should be done without involvement of, and vetting by, the Government agencies because some “leaders” are known to exploit our own people. 

The issue involving the visa for priests was raised. It was mentioned that the standard of English requirement is onerous and excessive.  I pointed out that the matter was also raised in the Q & A session with DIBP Assistant Minister, Alex Hawke, in a recent meeting organized by FIAN, and that it will be better if we work together and raise the matter with the Minister directory. The High Commissioner agreed that the matter is in the policy domain and will better be dealt with the Government. We have a plan to organize a meeting involving key stakeholders and then meet the DIBP Assistant Minister. 

Dr Yadu Singh 

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh 

Heartless and outrageous: a national inquiry needed to fine-tune surrogacy

Sydney, 9th October, 2014

Reading the newspapers this morning, I feel concerned and perturbed with some issues around surrogacy.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-couple-abandons-surrogate-baby-in-india-20141008-113cmk.html

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/08/calls-national-inquiry-after-another-australian-couple-abandon-surrogate-baby

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/former-foreign-ministers-dont-recall-abandoned-india-surrogate-baby/story-fn59nm2j-1227084574732

Only recently, we were told that¬† baby Gammy was abandoned by an Australian couple¬†in Thailand, because he has Down’s syndrome. His twin sister, who was healthy,¬†was brought to Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4089822.htm

In the currently reported case, which has been investigated by ABC, and reported extensively, an agency arranged a surrogate mother in India, who gave birth to twins in 2012. Australian family took only one child, based on the gender, but did not bring the other child to Australia.

They did this, despite efforts from Australian High Commission in India, which tried to persuade the couple to bring both children to Australia. They even delayed issuing visa to encourage the couple to change their minds. It has been reported that an Australian politician pressured Australian High Commission to help this couple. Former Australian Foreign Affairs ministers, Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd, have denied that they were involved in pressuring Australian Consular officials.

Who is this politician then? I think Australians deserve to know his/her name.

http://www.surrogacyaustralia.org/about-us/general-info-on-overseas-surrogacy link provides how surrogacy operates, and is conducted.

I have no doubt that surrogacy plays a very important role in helping childless parents.

Family Court Chief Justice, Diana Bryant, has been quoted that the abandoned child was passed on to another family and money possibly changed hands to facilitate this. She thought this amounted to “child trafficking”.

Federal Circuit Court Chief Judge, John Pascoe, has asked for a national inquiry into surrogacy.

I am unable to understand how parents abandon children born out of surrogacy arrangements. These children are their own.

I am also concerned about gender or the health of the child being used as a factor in this decision. The question is who is responsible for the abandoned child. The answer to this is that it can not be the surrogate mother unless she makes an informed decision to agree to it by keeping the baby with her. Commissioning parents must be the ones who should be responsible for looking after the kid (s) born out of surrogacy arrangements.

It is not only a moral issue, but it clearly is a legal issue too.

A national inquiry is indeed needed to fine-tune and streamline surrogacy in Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

Australia concludes Nuclear trade deal with India!

Australian FlagSydney, 21st Aug, 2014Indian Flag flying

From various news sources, it is clear that Australia has concluded Civil nuclear deal with India recently. Uranium trade between Australia and¬†India is likely to start soon. It appears that the deal has been concluded relatively quickly after India elected its new Govt led by Mr Narendra Modi. The agreement is likely to be signed by India and Australia during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to India in the first week of September.

Let me also point out that it was Prime Minister John Howard who announced in 2007 that Australian Govt will reverse the ban to sell Uranium to India. It changed when Kevin Rudd became the Prime Minister a few months later and reversed it. Finally, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was the one who campaigned successfully to get ALP reverse its policy to ban Uranium sale to India in Dec 2011, followed by an agreement between Australia and India to start the negotiations on the nitty gritty of the supply agreement in 2012.

I wrote about this matter a few years ago. http://tinyurl.com/7bytnbo & http://tinyurl.com/6s7d7dx

Australia-India relations are on an upswing, after having suffered a few years ago.

I and many from Indian Australian Community are very happy with the improved Australia-India relations.

Congratulations are due to Australian Govt led by Mr Tony Abbott and Indian Govt led by Mr Narendra Modi. Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, and Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj, have also played a big role.

India is currently third in the list of countries which use nuclear energy. There are 21 nuclear reactors in India which are producing electricity but India needs to increase such electricity production, knowing electricity shortage. Currently, nuclear energy constitutes only 4% of total electricity production.

Australia has 1/3rd of the total Uranium of the world. This agreement is going to make Uranium supply to India much easier.

As usual, and in a totally predictable manner, Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, did not like it at all, and used some arguments, which are irrelevant and dated. NPT issue is not relevant in India’s case after India was given an exemption by Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2008.¬†Also, unlike India’s neighbours, India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation.

India is going through the discussions for Civil nuclear trade with Japan currently. Once concluded, India should be able to accelerate nuclear energy production.

Since 2005 onwards, India has already entered into civil nuclear agreements with the US, Mangolia, Namibia, Argentina, the UK, Canada, Kazakhstan and South Korea, France and Russia.  

Indian Australian community has a desire to see speedy growth in Australia India relations in all dimensions and aspects.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

au.linkedin.com/in/dryadusingh/

India should not be used by anyone as a launch pad for sea voyage to Australia!

Sydney, 29th July, 2014

Boat people Boat people2 Indian Flag

I am perturbed with some commentary whereby some people including Senator Sarah Hanson-Young are casting indirect aspersion on how India treats refugees. (http://tinyurl.com/k239hsr) Points are being made that India is not a signatory county to UN Refugees Convention. Some of them have mentioned even terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and A-Sham) in the same paragraph. ISIS executes people in cold-blood, and is hurting and subjugating people from religions other than their Sunni sect of Islam. This, even indirect aspersion, is inappropriate and offensive. India is not ISIS and can not even be remotely equated with it.

India is a vibrant and the biggest democracy of the world. It has rule of law with free judiciary and totally free media. It has refugees from Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, China and many other countries. It has a proud and long history of welcoming persecuted people from all corners of the world. Parsis (Zoroastrians) left Persia because they were persecuted. Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans exiles¬†have lived in India for several decades without any persecution or troubles. India treats refugees humanly and with care. India may not be a signatory to UN Refugees convention, but its treatment of those who claim refuge is exemplary. UNHCR (United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees) itself has¬†said this about ¬†India many times. India lets UNHCR do the assessment about people’s refugee status, which is fair, ¬†appropriate and prudent.

Raising concerns about India’s credentials as a caring society is objectionable.

Coming to the current issue of 157 boat people (all likely to be Sri Lankan Tamils) who were intercepted by Australian Navy just outside its Maritime zone about a month ago, it is clear that the Boat has come from Indian Shores. From all the information, it is clear that they are all Sri Lankan Tamils, who were in a refugee camp near Pondicherry, South India. India is affected in multiple ways and is a concerned party. Its shores were used as the launching pad for this boat to Australia. India needs to know who these people are and how did they use Indian shores for launching  the voyage to Australia.

It is a security issue for India. India has an ongoing issue with Pakistan, from where terrorists enter Indian territories to perpetrate terrorist attacks in India. I am not saying that the boat in question is carrying terrorists, but not being concerned and alarmed with this type of voyage will render India a hypocrite. India has a right to figure out who these people are and what is the exact composition of these people.

Australia and India are friendly countries, and have strategic relations. I am pleased that Australian Minister for Immigration & Border Control, Scott Morrison, visited India recently and had a discussion with Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj. He was able to get an undertaking from Indian Govt that it will take back these people if they are Indian citizens and residents. That is a huge achievement for Australia.

India will not, and should not, allow its territories to be used as the launch pad for things which are against any other nation. In this case, it is the stated policy of Australia that they do not want to entertain illegal maritime arrivals. Current Federal Govt took the policy of “Stop the boats” to people during 2013 election and received a mandate. Previous Govt led by Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd too had this policy. Offshore processing of illegal maritime arrivals has been the policy of Govts of both political persuasions.

Australia can not afford to have the repetition of 5000 people arriving every month, claiming refugee status. We do not have the money to afford their accommodation, food, health and education. Our national Budget is in deficit and our economy is in stress. We have to look after our elderly, homeless and less fortunate people first. We have to look after our disadvantaged people first.

Australia should accept its fair share of refugees, but there is no way it can afford an unlimited number of people who want to come to our shores with refugee claim. Australia is a caring and generous society, but there is a limit to it.

I am concerned that some people decide to come to Australia from countries where they were not facing persecution. India is definitely one such country. There is no persecution programme for anyone in India. Indians generally, free Indian  media and independent judiciary will not let this happen either.

About the people in the Boat, who have now been brought to Curtin Detention Centre, I am not sure that they faced any persecution in India. Based on the prevalent governance and political system, it is unlikely they faced any persecution in India. They were living in the area ie Tamil Nadu, which is the homeland of Tamils in India.

This fact alone makes it likely that they are economic refugees, not genuine refugees.

If there is any Indian national in this group of people, then they should be sent back to India without any delay, because their claim for refugee status will be bogus, preposterous and baseless.

Australia has all the rights to refuse to accept economic refugees. Australia has all the sovereign rights to control flow of illegal maritime arrivals. Australia in fact has an undeniable responsibility to look after its disadvantaged people before allocating billions on people who are not Australia’s primary responsibility.

I see no problem in Australia working with India to figure out who these people are, where they have come from and why have they come to our shores in this manner.

Australia has full rights to send them to the country from where they have come from if they are not genuine refugees.

Australia has a well-stated and bipartisan policy of offshore processing and not settling illegal maritime arrivals in Australia. Australia does not encourage illegal maritime arrivals. It has been working with nations in the region to stop the illegal maritime arrivals. This is the first boat which has been allowed to land on our shores in over 7 months, presumably to allow sufficient time to Indian officials to process information and cross-check it.

Australia is within its rights to work with nations in our region to achieve the stated policy goals. I am in full support of these goals. I know many others, in fact a majority of Australians, are in support of these goals.

Finally, India should not allow anyone, under any circumstance, to use its shores or territories as a launch pad for voyage as “illegal maritime arrival” to Australia or any other country!

Dr Yadu Singh

dryadusingh@gmail.com

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

 

 

 

 

 

What Indians in Australia expect from the Modi Govt

 

 
 
 

The new government should be proactive in considering the interests and welfare of the Indian community down under.

It is not a hyperbole to say that a new era has dawned in India with the swearing-in of the Modi Government on Monday, 26 May, 2014.

A decisive, ‚Äúcan do‚ÄĚ leader, Sri Narendra Modi, is the Prime Minister. Indians, not just in India but around the world, are confident that things will change for the better and the Indian economy will grow rapidly.

People have expectations from the new government. While people have a wide variety of expectations, which they want the Modi Govt to deliver, there are some common themes in their expectations. Based on my interactions with many Indians in Australia, and based on my own thinking, there are a few things that people expect the new government to consider.

Prime Minister’s visit to Australia: There has not been any state visit by an Indian PM to Australia after the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s visit in 1980s. PM Modi should accept the invitation from Australia to schedule a state visit to Australia this year itself. Several Australian PMs have already visited India, but a reciprocal visit by an Indian PM is yet to happen. There should be time for the PM to interact with the community in at least one, but preferably two, major cities. The G20 summit is scheduled to happen in Brisbane on November 15 and 16, 2014. This will be a perfect opportunity for the Indian PM’s long overdue official visit to Australia too.

Genuine dual citizenship: This has been discussed and debated for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be given a right to hold genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights, if the country of their citizenship has no issue with this and if there are no security issues with granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. After all, Australia, USA, UK, NZ and many other developed as well as developing countries already offer this facility.

Visa on arrival for Australian citizens: Australian citizens, like many others including New Zealanders, should get the same visa-free arrival facilities in India. If this is not the case at present, it should be implemented without further delay.

Black money in overseas banks: Genuine, proactive and effective steps should be taken to tackle this menace and bring the money back to India within 12 months. No favour should be given to anyone irrespective of who they are or what connections they have. The decision to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for this purpose is good.

Effective anti-corruption body: A group of 10-15 people from civil society including judges, eminent jurists and overseas Indians (if possible) should be asked to review the Lok Pal Act, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier in the year, and suggest steps to rectify weakness to make it an effective corruption fighting body. This should be completed in the next 12 months.

The PM’s global Overseas Indians Advisory body: The PM should revamp his Global Advisory Body, constituted by the previous PM. People in it should be those who have significant presence and influence in their countries. The habit of Indian diplomats recommending non-descript and non-influential people for this body should eliminated.

Country specific Overseas Indian Advisory body: Countries with significant overseas Indian population (Australia is certainly one such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people, which can be used for consultations and other advisory purposes, not only by the local GOI authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India.

Annual dialogue between Indian and Australian leaders: PMs, Foreign Affairs Ministers and Defence Ministers should hold annual meeting/dialogue, with venues for such meeting/dialogue alternating between India and Australia.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded by the end of 2015.

Bilateral Nuclear Trade negotiations: The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated with the goal to conclude it by the 30 June, 2015.

Bilateral and multi-lateral defence exercises between India and Australia: India and Australia should work actively to enhance their defence & strategic relations bilaterally and multilaterally in the pattern agreed prior to the 2007 Rudd Govt in Australia.

Hindi teachings in Australian Universities: To increase India’s soft power and increase the numbers of India-literate Australians, India should consider funding such teaching courses in some select Universities in Australia.

Facilitations of Australian Universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in various world Universities ranking systems. Collaborations in this field should be actively facilitated and encouraged, following a pragmatic and win-win module.

Indian Consulate in Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment. Indian business houses like the Adani group have an important and a significant presence in this state. It is important to have an Indian Consulate in Brisbane.

India House or Indian Cultural Centre in major capital cities: The Indian community has grown significantly in Australia. It is increasingly felt that such centres are required, at least in Sydney and Melbourne. While some funding will be raised locally, a significant part of the funds should come from Indian Govt. Govt of India (GOI) Funds, if any, allocated for something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be reviewed and re-allocated for a centre of this nature in areas like Parramatta or Blacktown, where the Indian community has a substantial presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian Cultural Centre.

Overseas Indians’ property in India: Many overseas Indians are seeing that their properties are illegally occupied and face threats to their safety when they visit India. Court cases go on for extended periods of time. IPC should be amended to tackle this menace.

Interactions between GOI agencies and Indian Australian community: It is often felt that GOI authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently, thus leading to a communication gap. It is a common experience that there is a significant gap between what we expect and what is delivered. Steps should be implemented to improve the situation.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs visit to Australia: With approx. 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a biennial visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (The Hon Sushma Swaraj) or her deputy, The Hon Gen (Retd) V K Singh, should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate Overseas Indians’ investment in India.

Streamlined grievance redressal mechanism for Overseas Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry has often not been very helpful and help has often not come in a timely fashion due to excessive bureaucratic influences. This should be reviewed and streamlined.

Exchanges between Academicians and civil Society leaders: We need regular bilateral exchange visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This will help improve relations between the two countries. The scope and numbers should be increased.

This is our wish list, which we believe is doable, not difficult and will provide multiple benefits to various stake-holders, including India.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/13th June, 2014

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

au.linkedin.com/in/dryadusingh/

======================================================================================================= 

This was originally published in Indian Sun News magazine, Sydney on 10th June, 2014.  http://www.theindiansun.com.au/top-story/indians-australia-expect-modi-govt/

=======================================================================================================

 

With BJP/NDA Govt led by Narendra Modi, a new era dawns in India!

Narendra Modi

Sydney, 16th May, 2014.

Indian elections were a mammoth exercise, going for around 2 months. There were 930,000 polling booths, using 1.7 million voting machines for >500 million voters. These are precisely the factors why India is the largest democracy of the world.

Indian channels and newspapers were beaming the results of Indian elections on 16th May, 2014. With the trends available at 3PM Sydney time, it was clear that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will form the next Govt. Mr Narendra Modi of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the biggest constituent of NDA, was going to be India’s next Prime Minister.

It became clear that NDA will have more than 300 MPs and BJP itself will have 272+ MPs. Congress-led UPA Govt seems to have been routed in a landslide victory for BJP/NDA.

At the end of counting of votes, BJP scored 284 seats (MPs) in Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and NDA scored 336 of the total 543 MPs. Congress was limited to only 44 MPs and much-hyped Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could get only 4 MPs, despite the pre-polling claim of >100 AAP MPs.

BJP has managed a majority for itself. It is for the first time in the last 30 years when a political party has managed a majority for itself. It is not a mean feat!

This is a spectacular result from all parameters, and credits for this go to Mr Modi and his team. He ravelled extensively all over India, holding rallies, road-shows, Chai Pe Charcha (Tea Parties), and reaching out to people extensively via regular media and social media. Friends and supporters of BJP overseas too took part in political discourses, usually via social media, creating pro-BJP atmosphere in their circles back in India.

Despite the denials by political adversaries of BJP and Modi, there is no denying that there was a Modi “Lehar” (Wave). Scams after scams during the term of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Govt led by Dr Manmohan Singh created a massive aversion to Congress-led Govt in the minds of people. They have had enough.

India will now have a stable Govt. This is good for India’s economic growth and development, and Governance. It is also good for India’s international affairs. Trade and investment from all over the world will increase. This will be a great outcome.

Indians all over the world will rejoice with the result of Indian election because they are sick and tired of;

  • vote bank politics
  • caste-based politics
  • pseudo-secularism
  • religion-based politics
  • region-based politics
  • corruption
  • Poor governance
  • policy paralysis
  • stagnation in the economy
  • poor management of foreign affairs
  • poor management of India’s borders
  • dynasty-based politics

Indians deserve better. They do not need to be divided based on their caste or religions. They do not want to be “used” by politicians as “vote-banks”. Indians are all Indians, with no superior or inferior claim on their Indian-ness or rights for economic growth and development.

Indians are truly sick and tired of “He is communal and I am secular” commentary by politicians for vested interest. Enough of this nonsense!

We have a leader in Mr Narendra Modi, who is focused on economic growth and development, good governance and has pan-India appeal.

He is decisive, determined and experienced, beside being assertive and eager.

He is able and capable to implement  “Eik Bharat, Shrestha Bharat” (One India, Better India), following “Development for all, appeasement for none”, because all Indians have equal claim on India and have equal right for development, without any consideration for their caste, religion or regional background.

A new era is going to dawn with the outcome of the Indian election and with Mr Modi as India’s new Prime Minister!

Congrats to Indians! Congrats to BJP and NDA! Congrats to Mr Narendra Modi!

Overseas Indians all over the world, just like Indians in India, burst into a joyous mood on 16th May, throwing celebratory parties wherever they were living. Australia was no exception, where several celebratory parties were organised by Indian Australians all over Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh/16th May, 2014

dryadusingh@gmail.com

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

 

26th January 2013: Happy Australia Day and Happy Indian Republic Day!

26th January 2013: Happy Australia Day and Happy Indian Republic Day!

Happy Australia Day and Happy Indian Republic Day!

26th January is a great day for Australians and Indians! For Indian Australians, 26th January is doubly special! We are the only ones who get the opportunity to celebrate two national days this day today!

I will be going to join in the Flag hoisting at the official¬†residence of Consul General of India in Sydney, Mr Arun Goel, followed by taking part in the citizenship ceremony, presided by Lord Mayor of Parramatta, John Chedid. Later in the evening, I will be joining in the NSW Premier’s Australia Day reception. Later in the evening and even during the day, I will be keeping in touch with celebrations including Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.

We ourselves from Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc [INDAUS Inc] will be hosting an Australia Day and Indian Republic Day  celebration tomorrow, Sunday, 27th Jan, 6-10.30 PM, at Ryde Civic Hall, Ryde, NSW with 400+ people including politicians, media and multicultural entertainment, and sumptuous food.

Our focus today and in our INDAUS Inc celebration on 27th January will be on fun, food, networking, multicultural entertainment and celebration of our two nation days.

Once again, Happy Australia Day and Happy Indian Republic Day!! Happy Indian Republic Day

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/26th January, 2013

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

Sachin Tendulkar’s Order of Australia: a brilliant piece of soft diplomacy!

English: Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval

English: Sachin Tendulkar at Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am happy to know that Australian PM, Julia Gillard, has announced an AM [Member of the Order of Australia] for Sachin Tendulkar, the only Cricketer who has scored 100+ centuries.

I also know that Indians in India and Australia are happy with this award. There should be no surprises there!

Sachin deserves it for the services to International Cricket, although there have been some comments in Australia against this award. Rob Oakeshott MP made his views known yesterday. He was in favour of Order of Australia reserved only for Australians and expressed that these awards should not be used for soft diplomacy.

Brian Lara, West Indian Cricketer received an Order of Australia in 2009 and Clive Lloyd received it earlier. Not only this, Indian Attorney General, Soli Sorabji, too received it in 2006. Many more international people have received such awards in the past. The sole criteria has been that they have helped relations between their countries and Australia.

 

Order of Australia: They are the top awards in Australia.

  • Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia (AK or AD – Civil division only – Closed to new appointments in 1986);
  • Companion of the Order of Australia (AC);
  • Officer of the Order of Australia (AO);
  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM); and
  • Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Sachin has been given an AM.

In case of Sachin, critics in Australia have mentioned that he has not done any thing of substance for Australia India relations and his role in “Monkeygate” scandal in 2008¬†was not that great. Initially, Sachin¬†said that he did not hear what Harbhajan¬†Singh said to Andrew Symonds but later on¬†he said that Harbhajan had used some other word in Hindi, instead of dreaded/racist “Monkey” word for Symonds.

It is hard to know what happened but smart thing will be to put that saga behind us and move on.

I don’t think Sachin spoke one or another way either when Indian students’ issue was a hot item in 2009.

Having said that, Sachin is a gentleman and a great cricketer. His achievements in cricketing field  are unmatched. Cricket fans love him all over the world including Australia.

The most important outcome from this award will be the image make over¬†Australia will get in Indian minds, after it was distorted in 2009 due to saturation coverage of attacks on students. Even though most of the coverage, especially the racism bit, was exaggerated and hyped up, it did nevertheless cause a serious harm to Australia’s image in India and damaged Australian education business from India and other countries.

Order of Australia to Sachin¬†is likely to reverse¬†the “Feel bad”¬†for Australia in India.

This, I believe, is a brilliant piece of diplomacy by Australian PM, Julia Gillard.

This may also be smart politics domestically too in regards to Indian Australians, knowing the numerical strength of the community in Australia. There are approx 400,000 Indian Australians [approx 2% of total population] with  some constituencies having more than 10% voters from our community.

While there would be some who will be swayed for supporting ALP because of this, I doubt it will be a significant factor because most of us, just like general population, decide who to vote for, based on policies and agenda of the political parties.

Coming to the real issues, I am hoping that PM Gillard and Indian leadership will deal with the real issues of Trade, Investment, International Education, security in the region and Uranium sale in a pragmatic fashion and have a win win outcome for both countries.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/17th October,2012

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

Recommendations to take Australia India relations to a new height! Australia India Institute [AII] does a fantastic job!

Australia India Institute [AII], based at University of Melbourne and led by Amitabh Mattooo, has released its report, The Australia-India Institute РBeyond the Lost Decade. recommending steps, which, if implemented by both Govts, will take Australia India relations to a new height.

Here is the link for Report: http://www.aii.unimelb.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Beyond-the-Lost-Decadeweb.pdf

Here are the recommendations from this report. See the Link above for the detailed report.

The Australian government should, in partnership with the States, education and corporate sectors and civil society institutions:

‚ÄĘ Undertake as an act of goodwill to extend the visas of Indian students who were in Australia on February 8, 2010, and whose pathways towards permanent residency in Australia were affected by changes to immigration regulations in that year. Such extensions or issuance of alternative categories of visa should be granted for at least 12 months from December 31, 2012.

‚ÄĘ Extend the post-study work entitlement currently¬†enjoyed by international students at universities to all TAFE institutes and reputable private colleges offering vocational training.

‚ÄĘ Initiate the training of adequate numbers of school teachers in the Hindi language in preparation for its introduction into the Australian Curriculum as soon as practicable. State and Federal education ministers should agree to specify areas of the curriculum in which Indian content must be taught, including Indian history, geography and culture. Re-establish language training for Australian diplomats posted to India.

‚ÄĘ Expand the study of contemporary India at Australian universities by providing initial funding for twenty B-level university teaching/research positions for the next five years, after which the universities fund the positions.

‚ÄĘ Seek talks with India on granting visa-on-arrival travel for Australians and developing a special category¬†visa for young Australians wishing to work in India. Initiate talks on new visa categories that cut red tape for visits by leadership figures such as university vice-chancellors and deans, Supreme Court judges, holders of national awards such as the Padma¬†Bhushan and Order of Australia.

‚ÄĘ Encourage the nomination of more foreign nationals, including Indians, for the Order of Australia awards, and more vigorously publicise foreign recipients by announcing them on the same day as national award winners each year.

‚ÄĘ Benchmark and fund scholarships for Australian university students to study in Asian nations to a maximum of one per 100 international students studying in Australia in any given year.

‚ÄĘ Double the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade‚Äôs paltry public diplomacy budget of $5 million, with the additional funds earmarked to raising awareness in India of exemplary initiatives such as the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.

‚ÄĘ Modernise Australia‚Äôs approach to international broadcasting, with Australia Network (TV) and Radio Australia taking on a larger role as content providers to Asian broadcasters. Australia Network to retain¬†close links with DFAT but funding and editorial responsibility should rest with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

‚ÄĘ Establish an Australia-India senior editors‚Äô dialogue modelled on the Australia-Indonesia editors‚Äô dialogue, with initial funding for four meetings, in New Delhi,

Sydney, Mumbai and Melbourne over a six-year period.

‚ÄĘ Introduce an Australian education rating system for States that provide education services to international students, encouraging them to prevent and/or speedily

address problems that can damage Australia’s brand as an education provider by prioritising student safety, proper orientation, police liaison support, and the active

involvement of local ethnic communities as contact points for international students, including Indians.

‚ÄĘ Invite representatives of regiments of Indian troops who fought at Gallipoli to be Australia‚Äôs guests at the 100th anniversary commemorations of the campaign in

2015, and invite expressions of interest from documentary film makers interested in producing feature films and documentaries about the shared experiences of Indian and Australian soldiers at Gallipoli.

‚ÄĘ Establish a permanent naval attach√© position¬†in the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, in addition to the existing defence adviser position, which can continue to rotate between Army, Navy and Air Force personnel. Begin negotiations for joint training exercises between Indian and Australian Special Forces, as currently exist between India and the United States.

‚ÄĘ Fund the Australia India Institute to develop an online ‚Äėone-stop shop‚Äô website providing reliable information on all aspects of trade, diplomatic, educational, people-to-people cultural relations.

‚ÄĘ Increase support and funding of major travelling exhibitions on art, history, heritage and sport to and from Australia and India, including the Bowral-based International Cricket Hall of Fame‚Äôs effort to mount offshore exhibitions in India.

‚ÄĘ Expand the growing range of Australia-India annual lectures, such as the Gandhi Oration and Crawford Lectures to all academic disciplines and civil society sectors, and name one such lecture in honour of the late esteemed India expert A.L. Basham.

‚ÄĘ Encourage Australian political parties to pursue formal dialogues and party-to-party relationships between the main political parties in each country; increase interactions between Australian and Indian State and Federal parliamentarians via delegations, conferences and staff exchanges.

‚ÄĘ Fund the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake ongoing research into racism and crime, with an initial reference to inquire¬†into the high profile¬†incidents that impacted on relations with Indian in 2009-10.

‚ÄĘFcilitate the entry of Australian Technical and Further Education Institutions to provide training in India and other countries on a not-for-profit basis.

‚ÄĘ Offer India the use of Australian expertise in developing distance education and the virtual classroom.

‚ÄĘ Create a web-based advertising campaign showcasing Indian students‚Äô opinions on Australia as a place to study, live and work.

‚ÄĘ Encourage Australian media organisations to revive regular staff exchanges with Indian media organisations.

‚ÄĘ Enlist Tourism Australia to develop an India wedding package that will encourage Indian honeymooners to take their holidays here, and couples of any

background to wed in grand Indian style at selected locations across Australia, including the Outback.

The Taskforce also recommends that…

The Indian government should:

* Propose institutionalised regular Prime Ministerial visits between New Delhi and Canberra. Establish a young political leaders program between India and Australia.

* Establish a naval attaché position at the Indian high commission in Canberra and open an Indian consulate in Brisbane in recognition of India’s economic interests in Queensland.

* Expedite the proposed restructuring of the territorial divisions of the MEA and split the 26-nation Southern Division, hiving off part of its mandate to a newly constituted Indo-Pacific or Australasia Division that could include Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

* Explore potential for shared humanitarian assistance and technical capacity-building programs in third countries. Australia has an expansive humanitarian assistance and technical partnership program with several countries through AusAID. India’s new Development Partnership Administration (DPA) Division in the MEA seeks a similar institutional profile. They can combine and contribute financial, material or human resources for specific projects, perhaps for programs in less-developed states of the Commonwealth.

‚ÄĘ Encourage the setting up of separate, track 2/track 1.5 taskforces and dialogues on Australia‚Äôs role in Indian energy and food security.

‚ÄĘ Consider a policy of visa-on-arrival for citizens of Australia, which is currently available to citizens of New Zealand, among others.

‚ÄĘ Encourage business associations such as the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and their member corporations to interact with their counterparts in Australia, and institute short-term work and exchange programs for young Australian and Indian professionals.

‚ÄĘ Accepting that democracy is a common and cherished principle shared by both countries, encourage a track 2/track 1.5 taskforce dialogue on democratic capacity

building, to explore possibilities of providing institutional and technical cooperation, including human resource training, to newly emerging democracies in, for example, the Arab world.

‚ÄĘ Encourage the Press Trust of India and Doordarshan¬†to establish a stronger presence in Australia, with a more robust network of stringers or fully fledged correspondents.

I believe that both Governments should review them and implement the recommendations to improve the relations between Australia and India. Federal Govt should do the necessary things including approving the Uranium decision in the Cabinet.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/17th July 2012.

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

Finally, Uranium trade with India has bipartisan support!

My article>>> Uranium-Bipartisan-article                                                                                                                             

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/8th Dec, 2011

www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

India’s Look East Policy:Australia is a perfect fit in it!

I¬†was invited¬†to write this article for the Journal from Foreign Policy Research Centre [FPRC], New Delhi. FPRC¬†is a Think Tank on India’s Foreign Policy.

I have argued that Australia and India should develop the best of the best relations, and suggested how it can be achieved.

Link is here>>>  LEP.FPRC.Journal  See pages 200-206.

PS: Please note that ALP has passed a resolution in its national conference on Sunday, 4th Dec, 2011, reversing the ban on Uranium trade with India. Yadu Singh/6th Dec, 2011.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/15th Nov, 2011

dryadusingh@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.yadusingh.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

IIFA in Sydney: How, when and by whom?

Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan with wife/actre...

Image via Wikipedia

IIFA Awards [The International Indian Film Academy Awards] are the most prestigious awards from Bollywood, the premier movie industry in India, and are presented every year by the International Indian Film Academy to recognise professionals and artists from Bollywood.

The first IIFA event was held in 2000. So far, they have been held in different countries around the world, details of which are as follows.

2000: Millennium Dome London, United Kingdom,

2001: Super Bowl Arena, Sun City, South Africa,

2002: Arena of Stars Genting, Highlands, Malaysia,

2003: Coca-Cola Dome, Johannesburg, South Africa,

2004: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore,

2005: Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,

2006: Dubai International Convention Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates,

2007: Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield, United Kingdom,

2008: Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand,

2009: The Venetian Macao, Macau, Macau,

2010: Sugathadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka,

2011: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Canada.

Social and economic benefits of hosting IIFA Awards are many. No wonders, there is a fierce competition among cities to host the event.  IIFA reaches out to millions of viewers and fans across the world providing them with an opportunity to see legends of Bollywood together on one stage. Toronto IIFA event was reportedly watched by >600million viewers. The Academy’s main objective has been to develop and promote relationships between film industries and organizations across the world. The focus is on foreign exchange and interaction, creating a common forum and meeting ground for enhancing business opportunities, apart from showcasing Bollywood cinema.

To prove that the hosting city benefits greatly, here is the latest evidence. Government of Ontario invested US$ 12 million to host 2011 edition of IIFA at Toronto and believed to have gained direct economic impact of over US$ 100 million in tourism. The organisers felt the returns of holding IIFA far exceeded the expectations estimated by the Government of Ontario.

IIFA have never been held in Australia, but Melbourne is trying to host them. They have already started the process.

Sydney is truly a world city with plenty of attractions for the Bollywood artists and fans. After all, who can beat Opera House, pristine beaches like Bondi¬†Beach, and Blue Mountain, along with Hunter Valley which is only a short distance away? NSW can rope in our cricketers too, knowing that some of them have a huge fan following in India. Sydney will beat any city, if it decided to bid for IIFA. NSW should definitely bid for it, as it is indeed¬†going to bring heaps of tourists around the time of the event, and thereafter too, which should generate more than $200 million for the NSW economy. With the flow-on effect on the inward tourism from India, and with the improved¬†image of Australia as a travel destination for Indians, this benefit may well cross 500 millions easily over the short to medium term. I know, I am not a NSW treasury official and can’t predict what the monetary outcome of this event would be for NSW, but one thing is certain that it would¬†be¬†beneficial to the economy.

If IIFA is held in Sydney, they will be the best ever (to match the best ever Olympics) and will help strengthen ties between India and Australia. Basically, there are many positives, and no negative.

Organisations of Indian Australians, and Indian Australians in NSW generally, can play a vital role by helping the NSW Govt in the bidding process. There are >150000 people of Indian heritage in Sydney [more if you add the fans of Bollywood from Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds], who would be a potent force on behalf of NSW in attracting the event for Sydney.

My discussions with many prominent people have given me a clear impression that they would love to have IIFA in Sydney in the near future. To succeed in this however, the work has to start soon. It might be a bit late to bid for 2012, but we can start the process now for 2013 event or thereafter.

NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell¬†is visiting India with a trade delegation¬†next month. I think, it would be a perfect opportunity to initiate¬†the¬†process before the visit and follow it up during the visit.

I, for one, can’t wait to see IIFA event in our beautiful¬†city, Sydney!

PS: I am not in favor of frauds and fake people, with no integrity and value system, getting anywhere near events like IIFA, because they will destroy the whole concept and the brand image. We all know that there are people who can con people to make money, and are very keen to promote themselves as event organizers. They operate with no principle and have no ethics.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/25th October, 2011

dryadusingh@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Kyle Sandilands & India matter resolved.

A bend in the Ganges river, Garhwal hills, Utt...

Image via Wikipedia

I am pleased¬†to report that Sydney’s 2Day¬†FM Radio station and Kyle Sandilands¬†have realised the mistake in their comments and issued an apology. This apology has been on air by Kyle, and in writing by Adam Lang, General Manager of 2day FM Radio station, who had sent a letter to me yesterday.

This is from what Kyle has said.

” I’m apologising….. anyone that’s Indian that listens to this show knows that I love Indians…. I don’t discriminate. I love everyone. I don’t care where they are, where they are from, what colour they are, I just made the mistake that the river which, to me, looks polluted, I said it was a junkyard and I did not realise it was holy.”

This is what Adam Lang said. ” In this instance, I hope that you feel that Kyle Sandilands¬†and 2Day¬†FM have taken full responsibility for the offence caused by remarks made. The offence was not intended but that consequence is absolutely accepted and we do sincerely apologise.”

I have heard the audio and it is good.

The Council of Indian Australians’ Press release is here. CIA_Press_Release_No12_2Day-FM-apologises

With this, the matter arising from Kyle’s comments has been resolved¬†to our satisfaction. We are happy that it has been resolved so quickly. This chapter is now closed.

I urge Indian media in India and Indians all over the World to close this chapter too. There is no need for any campaign or protest anymore. Desi Kangaroos TV clip is here.  http://youtu.be/LwIsrAaKilU

As I had said in my Sydney Morning Herald interview yesterday http://tinyurl.com/4xvkx2s , this matter was not between Australia and India. It was between Kyle and the listeners. It did affect Indians all over the world however. A lot of Indians were upset but some also agreed with him.

In Australia, just like India, press is free. Govt of Australia does not control press here, just like India. The protest by us and people every where else did work. This is a sign that media in  a free country does listen to public opinion.

Let us take emotions out from this debate now. River Ganges is a Holy river in Hinduism. Accepting it as a Holy River is fine and true, but it is not enough. National Govt and State Governments in India have not done enough to stop pollution of this river or any other river. This is unpardonable. How can they allow so much waste going into this River in the cities along the course of Ganges? 

Protests and campaigns are fine and justified, but they alone will not achieve results. There is a need to take real action to stop pollution of Ganges and recover it from the damage. Will that happen or will this outrage die out in a few days? Will people forget that the basic issue is that India has allowed Ganges and other rivers getting so polluted?

Let us take the message that India has a serious issue of pollution of its natural resources and let us accept that it is all man-made. All of us already know it and Kyle’s comments have only re-inforced this fact.¬†We have been shown a mirror and the things were not pretty. That needs to change.

Although we do love to blame bureaucracy and political system for the problem of this nature, it remains a fact that we too are responsible for it. It is about time that we accept this fact and do something effective and fast.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/3rd Aug, 2011

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook/dryadusingh

Nonsense about Australia from a Call Centre in India: My comments in A Current Affairs programme of Channel 9.

A call centre in Delhi was reported to be using offensive description for Australia & Australians, while training Call centre workers. See the report in Sunday Telegraph  newspaper.  http://t.co/g0hvK7C  It has created quite a bit of furore which you can see from the comments section.
 
A Current Affairs [ACA] programme of Channel 9 Australia covered it too. It is here.
 
Aussies a bunch of backward drunks’ http://t.co/QrNLsw4¬†¬†My comments are in this coverage from ACA.
 
The training of BPO workers, depicting Australians poorly is incorrect, offensive and objectionable. I do not agree with these ill-informed and uneducated comments.
 
We, Indian Australians,¬†are Australians too. Australians of any heritage are neither dumb nor backward. Contrary to the claims from this Call Centre in New Delhi, people in Australia do not¬†“drink constantly”. Australia is not a racist country either. There are racist people everywhere in the world. Neither Australia nor India is an exception. Fortunately, they are a small minority.¬† Australia’s rules and regulations are not guided by race, religion or gender. Instead, Australia is a progressive and successful multicultural country.
  
Yadu Singh/Sydney/25th July, 2011

OZ Uranium to India:my article in Mining & Technology Australia Journal.

Mining and Technology Australia asked me to write an article on OZ Uranium to India. This magazine is an Industry journal. It has now been published.

Link is here>> http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1sqpz/MiningampTechnologyA/resources/index.htm Page 40-41.

I am keen to hear from you about your views, points and counterpoints. I enclose this Radio interview about Uranium mining in Australia. http://radioadelaidebreakfast.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/in-focus-uranium-mining-business-and-trade-2/

Yadu Singh/Sydney/12th July, 2011

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

The biggest Indian investment in Australia so far!

A Sydney-based¬†good friend of mine provided me the news that a Hyderabad-based Indian Energy and Infrastructure giant, Lanco,¬†has acquired Griffin’s coal mines for about $850 million a couple of days ago, after beating other bidders including Chinese. This is the biggest investment by an Indian company in Australia so far. This beats Adani Group’s investment¬†of $500m on Linc Energy’s Galilee coal tenements in Queensland in August 2010.

I am very happy with this development because I want to see some serious investment by Indians in Australia and Australians in India. I want to see very deep relations between India and Australia. These relations need to be financial, political and strategic.

Lanco¬†is a great business and its chairman Mr Lagadapati¬†Madhusudan¬†Rao is a respected business leader in India. They are a significant player in the Energy and Infrastructure sector in India. With what they are going to do in Western Australia where Griffin is based, Lanco will be a significant player in that state’s economy.

Lanco will be developing a Port and rail facilities in Banbury in South Western region of WA which will help them in linking Coal mines¬†in Collie to Bunburry. They will guarantee jobs of about 400 people who are working with Griffin. Lanco¬†has outlined their plan to triple¬†if not more, the output of coal within a short term. They want to go from the current 4 million¬†tonnes output to 15 million tonnes which will obviously provide¬†employment to many¬†more Western Australians. Griffin’s Administrator, KordaMentha, doesn’t see any problem in getting the approval for this business transaction from the creditors and the Foreign Investment Review Board. They must be¬†thrilled as the business was sold¬†for $850 Million rather than expected $700 Million. Secured creditors will get 100% of their money. This¬†is a good news in itself.

Lanco¬† will get a boost in its business because it is going to approve the supply contract which the Griffin’s administrator is¬†finalizing¬†with Perdaman¬†Chemicals [Coal to Urea] plants and this will be for about 2.8 million tonnes. Lanco¬†will not have any problem in selling the remaining Coal as it plans to export Coal to power-hungry Indian Energy businesses. Lanco¬†itself is in that business. Additionally, Lanco¬†may also bid for Griffin’s boss Ric Stowe’s Bluewaters Power Stations along with bidders from USA and China and Japan.

I congratulate Lanco¬†for investing in Australia and becoming a big player in Western Australian economy. I must also congratulate my good friend, Gautam¬†Sharma, and his hard working¬†colleagues, for assisting Lanco¬†in acquiring¬†Griffin. For those who don’t know Gautam, he is originally from Andhra Pradesh, India. He studied in IT in Bangalore¬†followed by UTS, Sydney. He has done a lot for Indian students. We have been in regular contact ever since and he played a big role in our Australia Day and Indian Republic Day celebration on 24th Jan, 2010.¬†Like me and my close friends, he loves India and Australia equally and takes the good values from both.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/18th Dec, 2010

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

National organisation of Indian Australians is the need of the hour!

Australia has a substantial numbers of people of Indian heritage. It is approximately >250000. With students from India, this goes above >350000. It is going to increase as Indians have formed a good chunk of the total Australian immigrants over the last several years.

One of the things we have seen lately is the fact that there are Indian functions almost every weekend. In Sydney alone, we have had 6 Diwali functions including a big Diwali fair in Parramatta stadium. This Hindu Council of Australia fair was impressive and the biggest fair for/by Indian community. This is great.

With increased numbers, problems faced by some of us have also increased. It is expected. There are some issues¬†however which¬†appear¬†to be more pertinent for our community. Students’ issues is one such example. There is a large number of ex-students who are in a bridging visa and are in fact in a limbo as the processing of their applications has not been progressing.

Negative portrayal of Australia by Indian media last year was often hysterical and imbalanced. This was not fair. Issues were there but the manner of coverage was not right. There were heaps of leaders issuing a variety of  views which were often conflicting. One leader had a habit of calling every incident as a racist incident without even waiting for full evidence. This type of reporting has a potential to create a backlash against Indian Australian community. I am not denying that there were serious issues in regards to Indian students and Indian media, in fact, helped bring them to fore-front but exaggerated and imbalanced coverage in many cases and overuse of  racism word was not helpful. A segment of Indian media literally branded Australia to be a racist country without bothering to check the basis or the facts for that claim.

With the issues created by some students ie documentary frauds, contract marriages and crimes committed by them, the reputation and image of Indian community has had a significant hit. This needs to be¬†tackled too. We have to live and work here and our community can’t afford to have a negative image. Our image of a community of educated people with a relatively much less crime needs to be restored and enhanced.

There are several issues which our community must deal with. Helping new arrivals by mentoring is one of the things which we will need to do as a community. Helping new arrivals to integrate well is a very important mentoring job. Domestic violence and exploitation of our people, often by our own people, must be tackled.

There are issues between Australia and India. The classical one is about the sale of Australian Uranium to India which current Gov does not want to do. We obviously want to see that happen. Non-signatory status of India for NPT has no significance after India was given the India-specific NSG exemption last year with an active support from Australia. India also has a clean record on nuclear non-proliferation.

There are obviously several issues and I have mentioned only a few.

When educated Indian Australians¬†with vision talk about the community issues, they do talk about the need for a national body which can take up the issues which have a national significance for the community. While doing so, they also talk about the mushrooming of “community leaders” every where, many of whom do not have an idea of conflict of interest. Many such “leaders” do not have the pre-requisite for the leadership role. Such national body must be¬†able to work in a co-operative fashion with Indian/Australian Gov agencies including Indian consulates and the High Commission,¬†and business-focused bodies such as AIBC.

We need genuine associations of Indian Australians which can tackle the problems of the community in a genuine way. These associations need to be pan-Indian in outlook and should not have a linguistic or regional outlook, focusing on the language spoken at home or the place of origin in India as the basis for the organisation.

We really have far too many associations and far too many “leaders”. Leaders of all associations must move on after serving for a maximum¬†of two years. It is not a good idea for these “leaders” to use associations as a place for retirement activities. It is totally ridiculous to see “leaders” who are in their late 70s or 80s when they are clearly unable to grasp the situation and needs of our community. Respecting our seniors is one thing [and I too respect them]¬†but that does not mean that we have to put up with their¬†inefficient or inappropriate leadership. Issues of Year 2010 need leaders who can understand them and can do something about them. Our elder leaders [late 70s and 80s], if they have a burning desire to do community work, can do a great job by being the mentors and guides for the younger leaders. Their experience can be invaluable.

All such organisations must work in a transparent fashion. Indian ethnic media needs to do their genuine job to ensure that associations and leaders are doing the right job. Forming alliances with associations/leaders is not a good idea. This is a problem area.

We really need genuine leaders for our community and such leaders must be those who have;

  • vision and credibility
  • capacity to lead
  • ability to communicate with Gov authorities and people
  • ability to network and communicate with media
  • integrity
  • capacity to understand “conflict of interest” and practise it
  • capacity to follow the principles of transparency and accountability
  • capacity to lead by examples ie can be role models

Being “leaders” for photo ops and doing Melas [Fairs] only is not going to help! Taking commissions for their “leadership” is an absolute NO.

Some discussions are going on in these regards and an outcome is expected soon, hopefully.

One must not forget that we have literally hundreds if not thousands of “associations” most of¬†which are essentially pocket associations of our “leaders”.¬† We can see how/why associations-based federation[association of association]¬†at the national level will be a failure from the day one. It should therefore¬†be an organisation based on individual membership, taken from the people who¬†fulfill criterion explained above.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/14th Nov, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

ABC Media Watch blasts Channel 7 report on Delhi CWG’s security scare.

mediawatch_2010_ep34.wmv

http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3023099.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=2810604#/view/646211

Someone has just¬†sent this link from ABC Australia’s Media Watch which has apparently done a thorough investigation [as it claims]¬†and exposed the report by Channel 7 on Delhi CWG’s¬†security arrangements. Channel 7 journalist reported that he could enter the JL¬†Nehru stadium with a suitcase full of explosives.¬†As Media Watch programme reports, not everything he said turns out to be¬†correct.¬†Media Watch raised some doubts about his claims¬†whether he was¬†even at the stadium gate. Channel Seven is standing by its reporter and reports. I understand that Ch 7 has now asked Media Watch to remove this programme¬† from Media Watch website but I see that Media Watch has not removed it [at 7PM,¬†29th Sept].¬†It is difficult to know for sure as to¬†who is right and I therefore¬†leave it to you to judge for yourself by visiting Ch7 and Media Watch websites.

Media Watch reports that there was a lot of manipulation and falsehood in Channel 7 report. Scare-mongering appeared to be the main game, according to Media Watch.

I am disgusted¬†with media sensationalism generally. Some of the recent reports on Delhi CWG¬†are grossly exaggerated and¬†manipulated with the intension of harming India’s image.

I am noticing a trend in at least a segment of Australian media to depict Indians and India in negative light. This has become more apparent¬†after the students’ issue last year. This is not good for Indian Australians. We will need to deal with this trend smartly and assertively.

People have often wondered whether this new trend in Australian media is a payback to hysterical, exaggerated, imbalanced and unfair reporting against Australia by a segment of Indian media last year. We did not agree with Indian media then just like we do not agree with Australian media now. Fair is fair and unfair is unfair, irrespective of who is the target of reporting.

Generally speaking, crap reporting will remain just that-crap, irrespective of who does it!

Yes, India has problems and CWG Organising Committee has not done everything right and in a timely fashion [thus bringing some shame on itself, India and Indians all over the world including India] but Media needs to be more balanced and must give credit where it is due.

I am wondering about how low Media will go to sensationalize an event. I am wondering about the real agenda and motives of this segment of Media.

Yes, I have Indian heritage and am¬†proud of it. I love India exactly as¬† I love Australia. India is my “MATRI¬†BHUMI” [my place of birth] and Australia my “KARM¬†BHUMI”¬†[my¬†place of work and my home]. Both deserve my gratitude and love. My disgust¬†with unfair reporting against India is not just because I am of Indian background but it is also because I find this report to be very unfair. Similarly, we found the reports from a segment of¬†Indian media on Australia¬†last year disgusting because they were unfair.¬†I believe that all fair-minded Australians [from any background] will share my views on unfair reporting about any person, race, religion¬†or country.

Fair and proportionate criticism of India is fine, justified, desirable and acceptable, but false, disproportionate, unfair, selective, exaggerated, distorted and manipulated is not.

Channel 7’s report has been branded by¬†Media Watch¬†as “Shocking beat-up”!¬† There are only two options. Either Ch7 defends it or it accepts the criticism. If it is the former, then it should do what generally happens in Australia. If it is latter, an apology will be due to India and Indians.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th September,2010

T: www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh E: singhyadu@gmail.com B: www.yadusingh.wordpress.com

PS: This is an evolving story. I am going to follow the spat between Media Watch and CH7 closely and will report any new development. Please keep an open mind and follow this story. We do have an interest in this story because we have an unbreakable bond with India which is much more than just a country for us.

About Delhi CommonWealth Games [CWG] 2010.

Obviously, there is a lot of media coverage in Australia about Delhi Commonwealth Games [Delhi CWG] which will start on 3rd October, 2010.  Both, Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph have coverage on this today.   ABC also had coverage on this yesterday. 

Dani Samuels¬†[Discus champion]¬†has decided to withdraw from the Games but I was very pleased and indeed, encouraged to read that our swimmers and divers [Alex Croak, Matthew Mitcham¬†and Geoff Huegill] have declared their intention to go to the Games. They made¬†this very clear via a Blog [¬†¬†http://tinyurl.com/273cb7k¬†].¬† I also know that the Sports Minister, Senator Mark Arbib¬†will also be going to Delhi.¬† I say “good on you”¬†to participate in the Games in Delhi.¬†

I know that some sports authorities from certain countries including New Zealand have made a lot of alarmist comments about the Delhi CWG which seems to be creating panic and hysteria against the Delhi Games.   A firing at a tourist bus near a mosque a couple of days ago has of course fuelled  concerns about the security around the Games. A few building work problems, which have been characterised as minor by Indian officials, have received prominent reporting in the media.

Having come from New Delhi myself where I lived for several years, I do believe that some of the comments in the media are actually very unhelpful because they are creating hysteria against the Delhi CWG.    Something similar was floating around in the media about Athens Olympic Games only a couple of years ago.  Despite that, Athens Games were greatly successful. Similar concerns were raised in the media against South African soccer world cup but they were all proven to be incorrect.

My belief is that India would be able to deliver a successful Delhi CWG.  My belief is based on following: 

¬†The firing on the tourist bus a couple of days ago happened in the old part of Delhi which is grossly congested and has narrow lanes.¬† That part is not particularly safe even in the best of times.¬† I do not think we would have the same situation in the Games arena or the places where sports people will be staying.¬†Games are not happening in Old Delhi.¬†Of course, it is important for all people including sports people to be mindful of the security environment before they venture out to areas which are generally a “no go” area in any city anywhere in the world.¬† I myself would not go to Old Delhi unless it is extremely necessary.¬†¬†

 The Games facilities will be ready by the time the games start on 3rd October 2010.  They still have 10 days before the commencement of games. Only minor work, mostly cleaning, is yet to be done. The athletes village will be up and running with all the facilities by the time the games start.  The organisers and workers are working round the clock to get things done within days.  It is of course disappointing,  and to some extent embarrassing for us as Indian Australians to see the delay in getting the facilities ready.  Unfortunately, Delhi had 60-70% more monsoon rains this year which of course has added to problems but all stadia are already ready.  I have seen the photographs and comments of this fact. 

 India has had terrorist attacks and they have mostly originated and been masterminded from across the border.  Just like London, Bali, New York or Madrid, New Delhi will not be immune to a terrorist attack.  Having said that, I do not believe there is a very high chance (contrary to the claims in various media outlets) of a terrorist attack during the Games. I argue that the chance of a terrorist attack is minimal.  The reason for this is the fact that India has conducted IPL games without any untoward  incident for a couple of years.    In IPL games, there were many non-Indian players.  The Indian security apparatus including Indian army will provide a fool proof security for the venues and places where the games will be conducted.  People should not forget that India holds two big national events every year, namely the grand parade on the Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) when the whole political leadership including Prime Minister is present in the Parade venue, without any incident.  India can provide guaranteed security for a demarcated place or places but like any country in the world, it can never guarantee every place from terrorism. Sports arenas and athletes village will be demarcated places and Indian security apparatus is fully capable to do its job to protect them.

There have been concerns raised about Dengue fever in Delhi.  These concerns have created an unnecessary alarm.  Delhi is not the only city in the world which has Dengue fever.  Dengue fever is a problem in congested places such as slums or shanty towns but I do not believe sports people will be visiting or staying in those places.  The athletes village will, I believe, not have the situation where sports people will be  impacted by Dengue fever. Of course, they have to follow the advice about avoiding mosquito bite which will be given to them  by their own medical advisors as a matter of course. I and my family visit Delhi every year and have never suffered from Dengue fever. Preventive measures, of course, are crucial for every visitor.

There is a tendency in the international media to hype up and often exaggerate the issues in India which tends to create an unnecessary alarm among those who are going there.   The issues are there but they are not insurmountable. India will prove the alarm creators wrong and will hold a successful CWG.

Undoubtedly, India should have been ready with the construction and building works at least three months before, but this did not happen, leading to¬† much embarrassment for everyone including India as a nation and¬†Indians all over the world.¬† There is a culture in India which we often call “Chalta¬†Hai” which basically means that everything will be alright even when it does not appear¬†to be¬†the case. Before the D day comes, we create unnecessary chaos but ¬†however still deliver the outcome.¬† This culture needs to change with some significant speed.¬†We need to start following targets in a timely fashion. We need to start delivering outcomes in a planned and timely manner.¬†

There is no doubt that the credibility of India and Indian Government is on the line but having known India so well and having spoken with high ranking officials from the Government, I believe that India will deliver a very successful CWG. 

Jai Ho to Delhi  CWG 2010 and Jai Ho to all the participants in these Games!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/22nd Sept, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

singhyadu@gmail.com

Mahatma Gandhi in University of NSW [UNSW], Sydney:a proud moment for India and Indian Australians.

 

I was a witness to a great and proud¬†moment which happened in University of New South Wales [UNSW], Sydney today. NSW Minister, The Hon Eric Roozendaal¬†MLC, UNSW¬†VC, Professor Frederick G Hilmer¬†AO,¬†and Indian Consul General, Mr Amit¬†Dasgupta¬†inaugurated a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. It is situated¬†in the grounds in front of the UNSW¬†library. Speeches were made¬†on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings. He was described¬†as a man of peace, non-violence and wisdom. Two quotes which I liked most go like “An eye for an eye will render the world blind” and “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

In a grand yet simple ceremony, three students from Indian community were also awarded for their achievements in UNSW.

I remember vividly that Mr Gambhir¬†Watts of Bhavan¬†Australia has been working¬†on a project to get¬†Gandhi Ji’s¬†statue in Sydney for a while¬† but this project achieved a significant momentum after our energetic and “can do”¬†Consul General,¬†Mr Dasgupta¬†joined the Indian Consulate in march last year. Thanks and gratitude¬†is owed¬†to both these gentlemen. Mr Dasgupta has indeed made us proud.

CG spoke about his visit to UNSW¬†last year when Indian students’ issues were at its peak. He had a very productive discussion with UNSW. It was then that a decision was made¬†to install The Gandhi bust in UNSW. CG had also donated hundreds of books on Mahatma Gandhi and India to UNSW library as gifts from India and people of India. CG, Mr Dasgupta was praised for his work in this regards.

Apart from the Minister, CG and UNSW VC, this ceremony was also attended by other UNSW  officials,  Gambhir Watts, AIBC chairman [Mr Dipen Rughani], Harry Walia, Abbas Alvi, Nihal Agar, Rohitas Batta, Aruna Chandrala, Raj Datta, Neville Roach, Mrs Roach, Mala Mehta, N Saha, myself and many others.

Media was represented by Pawan Luthra [Indian Link], Aparna Vats [Voice of India] and Harmohan Walia [Hindi Gaurav].

It was a very pleasant atmosphere with beautiful music, drinks and finger food which were served after the inauguration.

This venue should become an important¬†place for occasions like Gandhi Jayanti¬†[Birth day celebration] on 2nd October. Inauguration of Gandhi Ji’s Bust should remind people about the principles and achievements¬†of this great soul. It should also remind people that¬†results can be¬†achieved without violence, a message the whole world needs to listen more often today than any other time.

I can’t describe how proud I was today.

Jai Ho!

Yadu Singh/Sydney/1st Sept, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Australian Uranium to India:Why Australia should sell it to India?

Last year, the then PM, Kevin Rudd and several ministers including the then Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard visited India. India is an important country for Australia on multiple counts. It is a rising global power which is also an important trading partner of Australia. Indian students’ issues aside, both countries enjoy friendly relations with one another. 

We, Indian Australians, have a keen interest in seeing good relations between these two countries.

Both countries must consider the interests of one another while doing business with one another. There are too many things which bind us together. These are our democracies, rule of law, multi-cultural societies, love of Cricket and memberships of the Commonwealth to name a few.

Previous Australian Gov led by PM John Howard did many things to move Australia and India closer. He declared that he would sell Uranium to India as India had impeccable records of nuclear non-proliferation. Other important step in this direction was a decision to initiate¬†a quadrilateral strategic dialogue involving USA, Australia, India and Japan. Yet another was the naval exercises called Malabar exercises involving¬† Navies from India, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore. After winning the Gov in 2007, Kevin Rudd led ALP Gov reversed the decision to sell Uranium to India and other steps too became non-operative from one or the other reason. Unhappy with Australia’s policies, India did not participate¬†in Kakadu¬†Naval¬†exercises where even¬†Pakistani Navy showed up. ¬†Basically, Australia-India relations have¬†moved backward since 2007. They moved back a few degrees more after the students‚Äô issues last year. A serious work is required to rectify this situation.

Indian economy is growing and will keep growing for years to come. GFC [Global Financial Crisis] did not affect India as much as it did others. India is on a roll. The only thing which holds India down is the fact that it has a problem in regards to its energy supply. It needs more and more energy for its growth. It  needs as much energy as it can get its hands on. Indian economy’s growth is essential not only for India but it is also essential for the health of the world economy.

India has been exploring all sources of energy supply as its local supply is far shorter than what it needs. India has to import petroleum from the Arab countries¬†and is debating about the gas supply from Iran. Iranian Gas is however problematic as it has to transit via Pakistani territory which is a problem in itself. Pakistani Govt authorities will never be able to guarantee a secure transit due to its weakness and the presence of the ‚Äúnon-state actors‚ÄĚ there who are anti-India. In addition, India cannot rule out a war between India and Pakistan which will create problems in the transit of the gas.

India is therefore¬†forced¬†to explore the option of atomic energy. It has no choice. Thanks to the leadership of The Prime Minister, Mr ManMohan¬†Singh and the then US President, Mr George Bush, India has an India-specific¬†NSG¬†[Nuclear Suppliers’ Group]¬†exemption in 2009 which enabled it ¬†to have¬†bilateral nuclear energy deals with USA, Russia,¬†France, Canada and some more countries. India needs a similar deal with Australia which will allow the Uranium sale¬†to India. Australia has about 40% of world Uranium and¬†sells it to China. NPT¬†should not be¬†an obstacle for Australia to sell Uranium to India after the NSG’s¬†India specific exemption and with India’s impeccable record in nuclear non-proliferation. NSG¬†exemption was a testimony to the fact that India has been a responsible country and has never been involved in nuclear proliferation, unlike others in our neighbourhood. Australia supported this exemption. NSG¬†exemption permits nuclear trade by India without signing NPT.

We should remind ourselves about what the former Australian PM, Mr John Howard had said about such sale. He said that it would not be fair to sell Uranium to China and deny that to India. PM Howard was dead right.

When Kevin Rudd’s ALP Gov reversed Mr Howard’s decision, India was upset and disappointed. Indian Australians were upset too. People felt that it was an unfair decision. India had a difficulty to understand the logic behind this decision once India was given NSG exemption with an active support from Australia.  NPT issue is not relevant at all in regards to India as India has impeccable records in these matters. ALP’s policy, insisting on NPT signature by India, is wrong and ill-considered. Australian Foreign Minister Mr Stephen Smith’s press conference in New Delhi is worth going through. It is available through DFAT website. India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation unlike Pakistan and China. China is a NPT signatory but its record in these matters is not that great. Everybody knows the nexus between China and Pakistan. We should not forget how North Korea got its atomic bombs. Pakistan would not have supplied anything to North Korea without the consent of China. Manuals in Chinese language were found even in Lybia which tried to buy things from disgraced proliferators like AQ Khan of Pakistan.

Simply put, it makes no sense for Australian Uranium going to China but not to India. In fact, there is more justification for Uranium sale to India. It will be pragmatic and a smart move if ALP drops its objection to selling Uranium to a non-NPT signatory country like India because India has fault-free records in proliferation matters and this fact has been recognised by the world with the India specific NSG waiver.  ALP decision to not sell Uranium to India has been considered unfriendly by many quarters in India and Indian Australian community. It is a big stumbling block in good Australia-India relations.

I¬†have urged the¬†Australian PM and ALP¬†to give India a ‚Äúfair go‚ÄĚ through emails and my Blog. I argued that it was what was expected¬†from a friendly country. It is not fair to bind Australia with the NPT¬†dogma and not see the whole¬†issue in a realistic way. A friend has to see the problems of ¬†his/her friends properly. Australia is a friend of India. It showed it by supporting the NSG¬†exemption for India in Vienna last year. It shows it by supporting a permanent position¬†for India in UNSC.¬†It is about time that we see it once again by seeing Uranium trade between Australia and India. As we understand, it [ALP]¬†would not have any political fallout from its decision to sell Uranium to India because the Coalition is already in favour of doing so. It should not be a problem to amend Atomic energy Act either, giving an India-specific exemption for Australian Uranium sale¬†to India. I remain doubtful though whether ALP and specifically ALP Left will change its objection in this regard.

I urge my Australian Indian friends to lobby with their local MPs on this matter. We need to pool our energies in persuading the Australian Gov to sell Uranium to India.

Like Lowy¬†Institute’s Rory Medcalf¬†[Ex¬†Australian High Commissioner to New delhi],¬†I and thousands of my friends in Australia do believe strongly that Australia should sell Uranium to India. We find this refusal to sell Uranium to India¬†¬†unfair and illogical.¬†India needs new and cleaner sources of energy ¬†and nuclear energy is¬†at the top of its list. Nuclear energy will not only help India but it will help the whole world as it will reduce pollution and carbon emission.

A time has come when Australia sees the issues properly and does the right thing. That right thing is to sell Uranium to India.

PM Julia Gillard, if elected on 21st Aug, will get an opportunity to change this illogical policy and sell Uranium to India but will she do it is yet to be seen.

Tony Abbott, if he gets the mandate on 21st Aug, and his team including Julie Bishop, Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb have already reconfirmed their resolve to sell Uranium to India.

We want some significant movement for more meaningful and better Australia- India relations.

The question in our minds is whether ALP will do the right thing or whether it would be the coalition which will do it!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/09-11-09 

singhyadu@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Australia-India relations and the issues of Indian students:IBN Live documentary [Hindi]

http://khabar.ibnlive.in.com/news/35809/2ÔĽŅ

Smita Sharma, a senior journalist from IBN Live channel was in Australia recently. She has made this comprehensive documentary. She did a good job and covered the issues of Indian students in Australia and sought the comments of Indian Australians who have been here for a long period. Ravi Bhatia of AIBC, Vasan Srinivasan of FIAV, Anupam Sharma and myself were interviewed for this documentary. She managed to speak with some actors from a Bollywood movie  on this topic [a Mahesh Bhatt movie which was being shot in Australia at that time] too with the help from Anupam Sharma.

It is in HINDI. It is in multiple segments.

It is a very balanced documentary. It is definitely worth a watch.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/13rd July, 2009

John Howard should be renominated for ICC vice president from Oceania.

I am outraged with the stupid comments in a section of Indian media in regards to Mr John Howard’s nomination as the Vice President from Oceania.

TimesNow’s Arnab Goswami and this pompous character named Suhel Seth are on it again. They just love doing “Australia-bashing”. “Australia is a racist society” is their Mantra. Their coverage on students’ issue was pathetic, imbalanced and hysterical. I believe quite strongly that they are themselves racist against Australia.

Why are they not using their brain, if they have it, to analyse an issue objectively. Australia is not a racist nation and its laws do not discriminate people based on race, gender or religion. I agree with Bishan Singh Bedi who disagreed with these two jokers and asked people to see things in a proper perspective and with objectivity.

Here is a link of one of the reporting on this matter.

http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201007/2942781.htm?desktop

Racism is everywhere. India is no exception. Australia is no exception either. Australia is indeed a successful multi-cultural country.

Guys, racism is bad and abominable but reverse racism is no better. I hope people can understand this fact.

People, please see this ICC and John Howard issue with a proper perspective. ICC position of VP is given by rotation. No election takes place for this position. VP becomes the President in 2 years. This year, it was the turn of Oceania to nominate its candidate. Oceania [Australia and NZ] nominated Mr Howard as its candidate. Cricket Australia and NZ Cricket had a vigorous selection process and the outcome was Mr Howard as their joint candidate.

ICC board really has no option but to accept a candidate who was recommended by the region whose turn it was to do so.

There is no doubt that it is India which is playing games on this matter. Sharad Pawar, the current president does not want a strong personality as the VP. That is the bottom line here. This is the reason why they have rejected Mr Howard’s nomination as the VP and asked Oceania to renominate a candidate by 31st Aug.

Yes, India generates 70% of the money for ICC but it is not proper for any one to shred any organisation into pieces just because some one can do it. ICC must stop bringing more disgrace and shame to itself.

It is entirely appropriate for Australian PM, Julia Gillard and NZ PM, John Key, to come out openly in support of their common candidate, Mr Howard for ICC VP position.

John Howard is Oceania’s candidate. He is my candidate. He should be our candidate.

It’s about time that ICC bullies are confronted assertively. Australia and NZ will do so by renominating him.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/6th July, 2010

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

John Howard is a perfect candidate for ICC.

ICC is in news again. Unfortunately, it is so for the wrong reasons. In its recent executive committee meeting in Singapore, they have rejected the candidature of Mr John Howard as its Vice President. If he became the Vice president, he would have become its President in 2 years.

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/howard-dismissed-by-a-low-full-toss-20100630-zmtk.html
http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/howard-veto-may-force-icc-change-20100701-zqpd.html

This is a wrong decision and is creating a wrong precedent.

John Howard is an eminent person and is one of the world leaders. He is of course the ex PM of Australia.

ICC has a tradition and protocol. This has been agreed by ICC. There is no need to disregard that protocol. ICC has a rotational system for Vice President who later becomes President.

The protocol is about who gets a turn to nominate its candidate for Vice President. This year, it was Oceania’s turn. Australia and NZ [Oceania] had a robust selection process and Mr Howard was the winner of that process.

I believe that ICC members should respect that process and approve Mr Howard as its Vice President. To reject his candidature is wrong and is in breach of the protocol. It is establishing a wrong precedent. Don’t forget that ICC had not advanced any reason for their decision while rejecting Mr Howard’s candidature. Not good, at all!

Mr Howard was a great Prime Minister of Australia and ran the Gov for 11 years. His personal integrity is beyond question. I didn’t agree with every thing his Gov did but it is irrelevant. What he did as the OZ PM is not of any relevance to ICC. He is now retired. His views on Mr Mugabe are not wrong. I do not agree with what was done by his Gov to Dr Haneef but again, it is not relevant. Again, even though it is irrelevant for this discussion, he was lot more pro-India , at least in the later part of his Gov, than one would like to accept. It was he who decided to sell Uranium to India. It was he who decided to strengthen strategic relations with India. Both of these policies were later reversed by the ALP Gov led by Mr Kevin Rudd.

The issue is about his competence to run ICC as VP initially with Mr Sharad Pawar as the president and later as President when Mr Pawar finished his term. There is no doubt that he would be a great candidate for both roles.

The second issue is whether it was the turn of Oceania to nominate its candidate for VP and whether there is a protocol to accept the nominee from the region whose turn it was currently. The answers to both questions are in affirmative.

I also believe that Mr Howard would be a great VP/President as he would do cleansing and bring transparency in that body. ICC needs it.

I am pleased that PM Julia Gillard is supporting Mr Howard. I believe that Australia and NZ should stand with Mr Howard and not allow the nonsense from the ICC delegates from Africa and Asia to succeed. Oceania should not endorse any one else as that would embolden the architects of the nonsense in ICC.

Give Mr Howard a “Fair Go”!

Yadu Singh/Sydney/2nd July, 2010

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Australia’s new Skilled Occupations list [SOL] for immigration:Changes which were overdue!

Senator Chris Evans, Minister of Immigration of Australia has announced the new Skilled Occupations list [SOL] today.

It has excluded cookery, hair-dressing, community welfare and other low value trades/skills from this list but it does have doctors, Engineers, nurses, teachers, construction workers, IT professionals and accountants among others. I liked this list and support it fully. I spoke on this matter today and here are the links.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2010/s2901431.htm

http://player.sbs.com.au/naca/#/naca/wna/Latest/playlist/Skilled-migrant-list-to-shrink/

http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/pdf/new-list-of-occupations.pdf

As we all know, Australia’s international education is [or at least, it has been until recently] a significant source of income ie about $15 Billion/year and has been quoted to be the third biggest source of the economy. It has grown dramatically over the last few years. Chinese and Indian students were the backbone of this growth. This growth was more true for the private vocational sector as compared to the University/TAFE sector. It was estimated that about 80-85% of Indian students came to Australia to study in the private sector, most commonly in cookery related courses, hairdressing and community welfare. To cater to the increasing demands, a lot of private schools were opened by entrepreneurs, many of them did not provide proper and good quality of education. Exploitation of students was rampant and unfortunately, the quality control mechanisms were not as active as they should have been. When the problems in this sector were brought out in the open by Indian and Australian media and quality issues were taken up with seriousness by Australian agencies as a result, many of these private schools started to close down, leading to more difficulties to the students.

With the assaults on Indian students and hysterical and often exaggerated reporting by Indian media which damaged Australia’s reputation, Australian agencies finally decided to take the remedial actions to clean this sector. Multiple task forces were set-up and serious reviews were done. It became quite clear that Australia’s international education system has been rorted by many students, some migration agents and some education agents. Some students came to Australia with no interests to study. Even human smuggling has been mentioned as a way to send some so-called students to Australia. Some of these students had poor English, educational and financial backgrounds. False certificates of all sorts and even contract marriages were employed to bring the so-called spouses in many cases.

Many of these students were applying for the PR visa even though they did not have the requisite qualifications to be able to find the employment. They were able to get the PR only because their trades of cookery and hair-dressing were in the preferred list for immigration.There was a serious question of the suitability of these people to become immigrants of this country.

Finally, something has to be done and new skills list is the outcome.

Skills Australia-an independent body has helped bring this list out. This list will be updated annually.

Senator Evans has outlined that Australia’s immigration programme will be demand-driven, not supply-driven. He said that Australia needs teachers, doctors, nurses and IT professionals, not cooks and hair-dressers. He also said that Australia’s immigration programme can not be controlled or driven by international education only. Senator Evans is spot on here.

These changes were overdue but as people say, it is still better late than never.

Australia should attract and encourage the right type of immigrants with qualifications which we need.

International education and PR should not be linked. It was never linked in a legal sense but an expectation of this “link” was created by the marketing agents. It was known to every one including Australian agencies that PR lure was responsible for the spectacular growth of students numbers from India and China. Having said that, these students came to Australia because Australia allowed them.

While I support this new skills list whole-heartedly, I am concerned about the plight of those students who are already here. They and their parents have invested a lot of money-often mortgaged their homes and farms to send them to Australia. They came here with the expectation of PR and this was not totally their mistake. They came here under previous rules and had valid reasons to hold an expectation for PR Visa after completing the diploma.

The current and changed situation has shattered their hopes. This is akin to a humanitarian tragedy for them and their families. It is going to have a very serious ramification for some of them.

I do believe that some significantly fair transitional steps should be taken to consider their situation, provided they meet the English, training and work experience standards. I am generally against retrospective rules and their case is a classical example where it should not be implemented retrospectively.

Is there a case for a fairer transitional steps/strategies in these matters?

While I congratulate Senator Evans for this new Skills list, my view is also in favour of fairer transitional steps in this matter and I believe that there is a very strong case for this approach!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/17th May, 2010

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Indian students in Australia: This Times of India article is spot on!!

Indian students in Australia

——————————————————–

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/special-report/Oz-us-A-banged-up-equation/articleshow/5826770.cms

Clarification: Gautam Gupta, mentioned in this article, is an Audiologist, not a cardiologist.

Oz & us: A banged-up equation?

Dileep Padgaonkar, TNN, Apr 18, 2010, 01.39am IST

Article

MELBOURNE: An evening of merrymaking that ended in a nightmarish experience in May last year gave Shravan Kumar his 15 minutes of fame. The young Andhraite, a student in a private college here, had hosted a party at his home in a western suburb of the city to celebrate his birthday. All the 20-odd guests were fellow Indians; all pursued vocational courses in institutions of dubious worth; all led a hand-to-mouth existence; all worked well beyond the stipulated 20 hours a week; all settled for wages much lower than the official wage; all lived four-to-six in a room; and all were fired by a single ambition: to acquire permanent resident (PR) status within two years of their arrival in Australia.

Liquor, much like loud music and laughter, flowed freely at the party. On such occasions, it is not unusual for uninvited guests to join in the revelry. When two young, white gatecrashers rang the doorbell, the Indians welcomed them with open arms. But soon the booze began to take its toll. Hot words were exchanged when the whites made passes at Indian girls. They were shown the door.

Minutes later the boys turned up again. Unknown to the Indians, one of them carried a screwdriver in the pocket of his trousers. They were allowed to come inside in the hope that they would behave themselves. But no sooner had they stepped in that the boy with the screwdriver plunged its sharp edge into Shravan Kumar’s skull. This is when all hell broke loose.

Even as Shravan Kumar struggled for his life in the hospital, a small group of left-wing radicals, both Indian and Australian, staged a demonstration outside the Victoria state Parliament House. They shouted angry slogans, pelted a few stones and bricks, broke some windows. From the sidelines, half a dozen or so members of the Australian Socialist Party, a fringe group, made provocative speeches. Among the rabble-rousers, according to a witness, was an Indian, Gautam Gupta, a failed businessman and a jobless cardiologist who over the years had fancied himself as an avatar of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. (Efforts to reach Gupta bore no fruit.) By sunset, the police had dispersed the demonstrators. Along the way however they, and especially the firebrand Gupta, attracted a huge amount of attention in the national media. And that coverage in turn got the Indian media all worked up.

On certain TV news channels in particular, charges of racism flew thick and fast. Fuelling their rage was the initial claim of the Australian authorities that race did not figure at all in the attacks. No one this writer spoke to, including office-bearers of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, denied that racial prejudice had to be taken into account to understand the factors that led to the tragic sequence of events. At the same time they emphasized that such prejudice was limited to a small group of young ruffians. To focus solely on race, as the Indian media had done, detracted attention from the more important factors that caused the crisis in the first place.

The most significant factor by far was the decision taken by the previous John Howard government to open up the vocational education sector to private groups and link it with migration. This was the government’s logic: invite young people to study in the country in order to boost earnings from education; persuade them to develop vocational skills needed to grease the wheels of the economy; give them permission to do part-time work even while they took their courses; above all, dangle before them the carrot of PR status two years after their arrival, provided they acquired a certain number of points in their studies.

The policy was disastrous on many counts. Individuals with no experience in the educational field, including a shop assistant from Kerala, were allowed to open colleges. The government did not bother to find out how they functioned. There were no controls ‚ÄĒ on the kind of courses offered, fees charged, the number of students admitted. For instance, permission had been given to enrol, say, 250 students. Double the number were enrolled. In no time, more than 170 private colleges mushroomed in Victoria. As many as 40% of them were controlled by individuals from the sub-continent. More often than not, their backers were former Australian politicians. They constituted a powerful lobby that no government could go against.

Between 2006 and 2009, the annual number of Indian students admitted to private colleges was more than three times the 2005 figure. This was the handiwork of Indian agents ‚ÄĒ nearly 1,700 at the last count ‚ÄĒ whose job was to lure prospective applicants with tall promises. In return for an investment of Rs 12-15 lakh, the student was assured ‘help’ to procure a visa (including a certificate certifying good knowledge of English), admission to a ‘posh’ college, a well-paid job on arrival, good accommodation, a great lifestyle and, not least, PR status after two years. Most of the agents’ ‘victims’ came from three states ‚ÄĒ Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and, above all, Punjab. The agent’s commission ran-ged between 15-20% of the overall expenditure.

Aiding, if not quite abetting, the agent was Australia’s lax visa regime. The visa-seeker had to furnish proof that he had enough money in the bank to pay for the travel, tuition fees and lodging and boarding costs for two years. With the agent’s help, a loan would be obtained from a bank by the applicant or his family, the money deposited in an account for three months and the bank statement attached to the visa application form. As soon as the visa was granted ‚ÄĒ without a counter-check or an interview ‚ÄĒ the loan was returned to the bank and the student was left high and dry.

This is where his travails began. There was no one to receive him at the airport. He had to make his own arrangements for accommodation. The ‘posh’ college was often a small, decrepit structure. Courses were few and far between. They were of course conducted in English, a language the student barely knew. To sustain himself, he worked long hours at all sorts of odd jobs and accepted wages well below the official rate, which placed him at odds with local job-seekers.

The illegal wage was paid in cash, which the student carried on his person. That made him a target for attack, especially when he took the last train home located in a remote suburb. In case he was assaulted, he never turned to the police for help because that would mean exposing the illegality of his working hours and wages. With no family support system, no contact with Indian associations or the Indian consulate, no friends in any other community, he had no choice but to seek the company of similarly placed fellow Indians. In the few hours he had for rest and leisure he would drink himself silly, sometimes take to drugs and gambling, enjoy loud music and, not least, chase girls. None of this obviously endeared him to the host population.

For Indian girls, the experience has proved to be far more harrowing. According to Krishna Arora, a community leader, Punjabi girls have been the worst victims of this search for an El Dorado. An educated girl is married off to a rich farmer’s son. In return, the father-in-law agrees to fund her travel, tuition and stay in Australia. Her husband, who is entitled to get a spouse visa, goes along with her. Once they land, the husband links up with other women, treats his wife shabbily and as soon as both get their PR, he files for divorce, obtains it and goes his own way leaving the young woman to fend for herself.

Last year, of the 18 cases of domestic violence reported to the Melbourne police, as many as 13 were student-related. Victims of such violence do receive some financial assistance from the government. But the money is grossly insufficient. As a consequence, more and more such women take to prostitution. Indian women make up a sizeable percentage of the escort service business in cities across Australia.

Indian community associations are making a valiant effort to come to the rescue of students duped into coming to the country. They are lobbying the government to strengthen security for Indians and to come down hard on the perpetrators of violence. The Indian consulate, too, is straining every nerve to assist them. But it is woefully understaffed. All the same, the leaders ‚ÄĒ including high-profile ones like Vasan Srinivasan, who very nearly got elected to the Victoria parliament; Vernon da Gama, a hugely sought-after solicitor and Ravi Bhatia, the suave and highly admired CEO of a telecom company ‚ÄĒ are unanimous in their belief that the issue at stake in the spate of attacks on Indians is not so much racism as a question of maintaining order and enforcing the law.

They repeat that the Indian media’s charges of racism quite correctly rile the Australians. This, in turn, tarnishes the entire Indian diaspora, most of whose members are successful professionals and adds strains and stresses to the India-Australia bilateral relationship. I asked the community leaders why Indians were targeted and not students from other countries. One reason, I was told, is that most of the other students come from good social backgrounds. They have a working knowledge of English and have the necessary funds to pay for their education.

Indeed, most of them study in universities, not in private colleges. Their numbers are small. As against this, the sheer size of the Indian student body, its general rowdiness, pecuniary situation and inability or unwillingness to live according to local norms gives it a higher visibility and makes it a target of suspicion, prejudice and sometimes violence.

Australia, one Indian executive told me, can be a tough place to live if you don’t know English, don’t know how to use a Western-style toilet, don’t know elementary rules of courtesy, if you don’t follow traffic rules and are perceived to be a lout. That, he said, was the case with most Indian students. And a bulk of them come from Punjab ‚ÄĒ indeed, straight from a Punjabi village to a cosmopolitan metropolis like Melbourne or Sydney. In no position to handle the culture shock, they just go out of control.

The attacks on Indians have, however, had a negative impact on Australia’s booming education business. Figures published by the Federal Education Department just days ago show an overall decline of foreign students seeking admission to the country’s colleges and universities. The decline is sharpest among Indian students. Numbers plummeted 40% in Victoria, from 6,303 to 3,761 for the first two months of the year. Especially affected are private vocational colleges. Experts believe that the numbers are likely to drop further in the months ahead.

The Australian authorities have finally begun to take meaningful steps to arrest the trend. Regulations for private colleges have been toughened; 21 rogue institutions have been identified. Rules have been changed to grant licenses to educational entrepreneurs. They are now obliged to re-register to meet the standards prescribed in the National Education Code. Some 1,500 educational providers have to undergo stringent tests. And courses like hair-dressing have been scrapped.

Visa regulations, too, have been revised. Now money needed for travel, tuition and boarding and lodging has to be deposited in a bank for six months instead of three. The Australian High Commission has been asked directly to consult chartered accountants and banks to verify the bonafides of the visa applicants. Living expenses have been raised from AU$1,000 to AU$1,500 a month. English proficiency tests have been made more rigorous. Most important of all, rules to grant permanent resident status have been overhauled to make it that much more difficult to immigrate.

Indian community leaders now hope that the Indian authorities will also crack down on unscrupulous agents and make sure that students wanting to study in Australia are given an accurate picture of the conditions that await them on arrival. Similarly, they would like on-the-spot reporting by Indian journalists of the problems confronting Indian students. This, they say, is urgent because under the revised rules, visas of a substantial number of students are not likely to be extended once they expire. This could well lead to more protests and perhaps to an outbreak of violence just in case a desperate student, unwilling to return to an uncertain future back home and fearful of losing face, attempts to commit suicide.

Meanwhile, Shravan Kumar has staged a remarkable recovery. The Australian government paid his hospital bills as he had no health insurance. It also funded the visit and stay of his father, brother and uncle. Undeterred by charges of racism and fears for his security, the young Andhraite applied for permanent resident status. He obtained it days ago. He is not quite sure if he will return to India once he finishes his courses. But chances are that he will choose to remain in Australia to get on with his life, hoping that by and by he will put behind him the birthday bash that turned into a ghoulish nightmare one balmy day in May last year.

Readers’ opinions (31)

Prerak Garg Kharagpur 18/04/2010 at 09:34 pm

A very nice and balanced point of view. Kudos to TOI for bringing out the true story.

Rohan Handa Melbourne, Australia 18/04/2010 at 08:31 pm

I am a student at Swinburne university, Melbourne and have been reading almost all the articles been written on this topic by various authors. This article, by far, is the most accurate and comprehensive account of whats really going on here. I would like to thank the author for his efforts.

reena India 18/04/2010 at 07:52 pm

It appears that you are one of the Indian journalists hired by the Australian government, whose entire living and travel expenses were paid, in order to project Australia’s image as a fair country, in the eyes of the International community! Are you one of those journalists, Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar??

Sunil Adelaide, Australia 18/04/2010 at 07:51 pm

Finally a well-researched honest article… If only every Indian was this sane….As an Indian living in Australia this is exactly how it was then, is now at present and will be in the future. A big clean-up act from both Indian and Australian authorities is the only way to right the wrong.

UMAKANT Melbourne 18/04/2010 at 07:10 pm

Good and TRUE article… it is a real scenario put in by this TOI article. I too agree with all things put in by Duleep. Most of the things happening against the Indian community is because of the raw and ripe behavior of their very own Country (PENDU or DESI) men.

Australian High Commissioner to India, Mr Peter Varghese’s Op-ed in an Indian newspaper:It makes a lot of sense!

Article by High Commissioner Peter Varghese- 1 February 2010 [Sent by DFAT with thanks. Also available on the website of Australian High Commission, New Delhi, India]

http://www.india.highcommission.gov.au/ndli/article1feb.html

¬†“What is happening in Australia? The widespread media coverage of attacks on Indians in Australia has raised several understandable questions. Are Indian students safe in Australia? Are Indians being singled out? Why are these attacks happening? Are they racially motivated and what is being done to address the problem? Crime is never easy to dissect and crime statistics even more so. We know that Australia is a relatively safe place with homicide and assault rates well below the global average. But we cannot prove with existing data, one way or another, whether Indian students are more likely to be assaulted than students from other countries. Also, with the number of Indian students growing by nearly 400 percent in the space of a few years the number of Indians affected by street crime has also increased in absolute numbers. The overwhelming majority of the half million foreign students in Australia, including the vast majority of Indian students, have a safe and positive experience. That may be cold comfort for Indian victims of assault and their families back home, but it is nevertheless an important point to make. Many of the Indian students in Australia are under financial pressure. Their visa requires them to have enough money in the bank to cover their costs before they come to Australia. But in many cases this does not happen. And when the pressure is on you to earn money quickly you do two things. First, you seek out night shift work because that is easier to get and may pay more. This means that you are more likely to be in a higher risk job such as driving taxis late at night. Second, you look for cheap accommodation which may put you in a higher crime neighbourhood and commuting to it at an hour when attacks are more likely. None of this excuses attacks. And no one should ever blame the victim. But it might help explain why some of these attacks are occurring. Are the attacks racist? For the most part they are the ugly face of urban crime committed by criminals from a wide variety of racial backgrounds. Many of the assailants have been juveniles or young adults acting in an aggressive and predatory way. But in some cases the attacks have been accompanied by racial abuse: something for which the Australian government has zero tolerance and the great majority of Australians condemn as completely unacceptable. If race is the motive, it will come out in the course of investigation and trial. We need to allow those processes to run their course and not make instant judgements based on initial media reports which may turn out to be wrong. This applies as much to the media as it does to those investigating these crimes. So what is being done? A lot. We have increased police resources. In Melbourne, where many of these attacks have occurred, we have put in place special action to target crime hotspots and to run a ‚Äúsafe stations‚ÄĚ program. We have given police wider powers to search for weapons without a warrant and to move unruly people on. We have introduced legislation to allow our courts to impose tougher sentences for hate crime. We have set up special consultative arrangements for the police to liaise with Indian and other international students, including a hotline for students who need advice or help. And we are going after the perpetrators. Already in Victoria alone some 45 people have been arrested for crimes against Indian students or nationals. The courts are dealing with the culprits, including in one case a sentence of 18 years for a vicious attack against a person of Indian origin. In one recent assault case, the assailant was given a three month prison sentence within twenty four hours of the attack. The Victorian police are giving a very high priority to finding the killer of Nitin Garg. And our Prime Minister has set up a special task force to deal with these attacks, chaired by the National Security Adviser and involving all the state governments. As a government and a community we take these attacks seriously. We cannot promise to stop urban crime ‚ÄĒ no government can credibly do that. But we are determined to address the problem, deal with the perpetrators and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all our foreign students. It is neither fair nor accurate to paint these attacks as the actions of a racist country. Australia has travelled a long way on race. We have gone, in the space of single generation, from White Australia to one of the most culturally and racially diverse societies in the world. Rapid social change has not been without its tensions but, overall, the record is one of impressive harmony. And that is not a journey which can be made by a racist nation.”

Peter N Varghese Australian High Commissioner

Australia India Day [celebrating Australia Day and Indian Republic Day] function:Report

Report

Australia India Day Function

[Celebrating Australia Day and Indian Republic Day]

Held on the 24th Jan, 2010 [6-11PM]

Venue ‚ÄstRyde Civic Centre, Ryde¬†NSW 2112

 

Australia India Day Function Council celebrated its first Australia / India Republic Day at the Ryde Civic Centre, Ryde on the 24th January 2012.  The program was an astounding success with more than 500 prominent Indians, representatives from over 20 Indian Associations, and star-studded politicians from both the Labor and Liberal parties from State and Federal level attending this event. 

The celebration started with the singing of Indian and Australian anthems, followed by entre which was followed by the first part of the entertainment programme. The guests were welcomed by Harish Velji and the MC was Dr Yadu Singh. Vote of thanks was given by Ms Shubha Kumar.  

At no time in the past 20 years, any function organized by any Indian Association/s had such massive response for such events.  The only limiting factor in getting more numbers to attend the event has been the capacity of the Ryde Civic Centre function hall. 

One of the major aspects contributing to the success of this program was the enormous representation from both the Labor and Liberal parties. ALP took 2 tables and Liberals took 1 table in our function. More than 40 political leaders and party workers from both sides attended the event.  Prominent people from the political leadership included: 

Hon Ms Maxine Mckew [Parliamentary secretary, Fed Gov & representing Prime Minister of Australia], Hon Mr Joe Hockey [Shadow Treasurer, Fed Parliament & representing Hon Tony Abbott, Leader of Opposition in Fed Parliament],Hon Mr David Borger [NSW Minister], Hon Mr Peter Primrose [NSW minister], Hon Ms Barbara Perry [NSW minister & representing NSW Premier], Ms Angela D’amore [Parliamentary secretary, NSW], Hon Mr Laurie Ferguson [Parliamentary secretary, Fed Gov], Mr David Clarke MLC [Shadow Parliamentary secretary & representing Mr Barry O’Farrell, Leader of Opposition, NSW], Mr Phillip Ruddock [Shadow Cabinet secretary, Fed Parliament], Mr Greg Smith [Shadow Attorney General, NSW], Hon Ms Amanda Fazio [President, Upper House of NSW], Hon Ms Tanya Gadiel [Deputy speaker of NSW parliament], Mr Chris Hayes MP, Mr Michael Richardson MP and Mr Shaoquett Moselmane MLC.

Clr Mark Adler ‚Äď Canterbury Council, Clr Tony Hay ‚Äď Hills Shire, Clr Barbara Burton ‚Äď Hills Shire, Clr Vaseekaran Rajdurai ‚Äď Holroyd Council, Clr Bill Whelan, Hawkesbury Council, and Crl Trent Zimmerman, North Sydney Council also attended this function.

Hon Mr Amit Dasgupta, Consul General of India, Sydney and Mr Gautam Roy, Consul from the Indian Consulate, Sydney also graced this function with their presence.

In a highly emotional and charged up speech, Mr David Clarke [representing Mr Barry O‚ÄôFarrell] from the Australian Liberal Party, said that if his child goes to India he is sure the parents in India would treat him as their son and look after him.¬† On a similar manner, he urged that the Australian Moms and Dads to treat the Indian students as their own sons and look after them.¬† He went on and paid tributes to India and its traditions by saying that ‚ÄėIndia practices what it preaches.¬†

Ms Barbara Perry [representing the Premier of NSW] spoke eloquently about the contribution of Indian Australians and declared that violence against Indian/international students will not be tolerated. She said that students are very welcome in NSW. She was dressed in Indian attire which people appreciated with enthusiastic applause. She spoke about the interest of NSW premier and Gov in working actively with the Indian Australians.

Hon Joe Hockey, speaking at the function, said the Liberal party is fully committed to its policy of supplying Uranium to India.  Dr Yadu Singh, while responding to Hon Joe Hockey’s speech encouraged the Labor party to consider similar policy and implement it as early as possible. He explained that the issue of NPT is not relevant in case of India after India has been given an India-specific exemption from NPT by the NSG [Nuclear Suppliers’ Group] in Vienna last year.

Ms Maxine Mckew also spoke very highly of India, Indian Australians and multi-culturalism in Australia. She also explained that India and Australia have a great relations and it will get even better despite some hiccups. She was very impressed with the enthusiastic participation of women Indian Australians in this function. Her speech generated a thunderous applause from the audience. 

All the speakers from both the major parties spoke highly of India, Indian traditions, Indian sports ‚Ästin particular Cricket, and the Indian political landscape, which stood the test of times for more than 62 years since securing independence from the British rule in 1947.¬†All speakers were enthusiastically applauded by the audience. ¬†

The event was also graced by Mr Amit Dasgupta, the Consul General of India.¬† Speaking on the occasion the Consul General touched on two fundamental issues.¬† On the issues related to the Indian students the Consul General paid glowing tributes to the NSW Police force and the political landscape of NSW for containing the student issues in NSW.¬† As a clear indication to vindicate this matter the Consul General said that out of the 1340 attacks on Indian students in 2009, only 13 such attacks occurred in the state of NSW and South Australia ‚Äď the States which fall under the jurisdiction of Mr Amit Dasgupta.¬† He further stated that these statistics do not however condone the vast majority of attacks on Indian students that occurred and still occurring in other States.¬† He urged that the law enforcement agencies and the political parties should work closely in this direction and ensure safety of the Indian overseas students¬†

On a second major issue, the Consul General spoke about exploitation of the Indian students by Indian business ‚Ästin particular the food/restaurant industry whereby the restaurant owners pay less than the wages stipulated under the labor law.¬† He insisted that all business owners must do ethical business.¬† He further went on to say that ‚ÄėI will not attend any function where he is not assured of suppliers to that function follow ethical standards in conducting their businesses‚Äô.¬† The entire hall including all the politicians from both major parties echoed with a big applause.¬†

The overwhelming response to this event is an indication of the ‚Äėchanging times‚Äô¬†and ‚Äėchanging outlook‚Äô¬† to the leadership and responsiveness to the current issues and challenges being faced by various sections of the Indian migrant and student community living in the State of New South Wales. ¬†

Surely the representation of more than 40 students from the International Student community is an indication that they want to hear from the leadership and also from the large number of politicians on their views and actions proposed to be taken to address their issues. The Chief of VETAB [Ms Margaret Willis] and her assistant, Mr Shona Tannock and Mr Robert Redfern, Commander, Parramatta Police command [representing NSW Police Commissioner] were present as our guests. Ms Willis’ and Mr Redfern’s presence was meant to send out the message that quality of training and safety of students are 2 key issues in relations with Indian students.

It is noteworthy that students had paid at a very subsidized rate and all others including the organizers, except a very small numbers of VIP guests, had bought the tickets for their participation in the function.

The representation from more than 20 Indian Associations is a clear indication which shows they are bewildered with the current policies and practices, and financial management of our current top associations and leaders. The one fundamental reason for this large support stems from the fact that they found a new leadership in the AIDFC which can respond to the current issues and make representations at both Australian and Indian Government levels with a solid and united voice.   Some of the major Indian organizations who supported the event included the India Club, The Sydney Sangat, Australian Punjabi Business Association, Australian Indian Business Congress, Punjab For Ever, The Australian Tamil Association Inc (ATA), Hindi Samaj and the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association (AMU) in addition to others.  

ACR International Tours and Travels added spice to the event by offering one return air ticket through Singapore Airlines for auction.¬† The auction added nice A$1,000 to the much badly needed money for the ‚Äėbenevolent fund project‚Äô. Mr Navneet Chaugar was the winner of this ticket. For the raffle draw which helped us collect about $750, the Good Guys offered a Plasma 26 inch TV which was won by Councilor Bill Whelan of the Hawkesbury City Council.¬† Congratulations to the winners!¬†

Media-both Indian and Australian, were represented with Indian Link, The Indian, Punjab Times, Hamare Rang [Pakistani] and most importantly, Channel 9 team present in the function. This was the very first time that Channel 9 crew was present in an Indian function.

Many other ethnic community leaders also graced the occasion with their presence.

The Future ‚Äď the AIDFC Benevolent Fund

AIDFC has made a number of public announcements at the function to the community as a part of its commitment for the future.¬† Prominent among them is the creation and implementation of the AIDFC‚Äôs Benevolent Fund.¬† We are committed to get this fund going and make a significant contribution to the well being the Indian migrant and student community, our fellow Australian community and finally to our mother country ‚Äď India.¬† ¬†

Finally we promise you that we will provide you a solid leadership and will representation at various levels.¬† We will have clean governance in all matters of the AIDFC management ‚Ästin particular finance management. We will adopt an ‚Äėopen book‚Äô¬†approach in all these areas.¬† Consideration will be given to broaden the current AIDFC to include more Associations, individual members and businesses.¬† The community will be getting more frequent updates in the coming weeks and months!¬†

Ghungurus Group of Shalini Patel was the provider of the entertainment programme which was of 50 minutes duration and had the mix of Bhangra and Bollywood songs/dances. Every one enjoyed it tremendously.

Catering was done by Billu Group with great food, dessert and wines.

This function was so well attended and so well done that it has become a matter for the discussion among Indian Australians and the political eaders in NSW and Canberra.

This function has now become the talk of the town.
 
 JAI HO! 

Dr Yadu Singh

President

Australia India Day Function Council (AIDFC)

www.Twitter.com/dryadusingh

www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

www.yadusingh.wordpress.com

Email: singhyadu@gmail.com

31st Jan, 2010

My interview on NDTV about Australia

http://www.ndtv.com/news/videos/video_player.php?id=1197889 My interview in NDTV about Australia.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/world/indians_in_australia_speak_out_on_attacks.php

Yadu Singh/Sydney/31st Jan, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Indian students in Australia and India-Australia relations:My article and views.

http://www.foreignpolicy.in/journals_4.html

Inviting your views and comments.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th Jan, 2010

Fatal stabbing of a 21 yrs old young man in Melbourne.Please keep race out of the equation!

As we all know, Nitin Garg, 21 yrs old young man from India was fatally stabbed in Melbourne a few days ago. He was on his way to do night shift at a Hungry Jacks and was walking through a park where he was stabbed. He staggered to his work place, calling for help. He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital but could not be saved. Apparently, the knife had caused fatal injury to his vascular system/heart. Apparently, his wallet and other belongings were not touched. So, what happened here and why was he stabbed this ferociously, are the questions which are bothering all of us.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/please-help-me-im-dying-pleaded-knife-victim-20100104-lq5p.html

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/online-fury-over-stabbing-death-of-indian-man-20100103-lnb9.html

http://www.smh.com.au/national/fatal-decision-to-take-short-cut-through-park-20100104-lq7p.html

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/student-assaults-teach-some-harsh-lessons-about-racism-20100104-lq1i.html

http://tinyurl.com/yzqsll7

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/feelgood-sops-from-politicians-are-no-help-in-healing-a-mothers-heartbreak-20100106-lu82.html

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/indian-tvs-unsound-fury-20100106-lu8y.html

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/having-streets-filled-with-fear-is-a-frightening-way-to-live-20100106-lu8x.html

This is shocking to us. I am sure, this would be a shocking news to all decent Australians. It did not need to happen. He did not deserve to be killed in cold blood. Why did it happen and who did it, are the questions we all have right now.

His father¬†had passed away about 6 months ago due to Liver cancer and his elder brother, a sister and his mother are naturally devastated. Their loss, agony and distress can’t be described. We have felt this loss of life in our own hearts. I was very sad, angry and had tears when I heard about it. I have a son who is older than him. It could have been any one’s son/brother.

Vic police is doing its investigation and have appealed to people to not jump to any presumption about the motive of the killers. Appeals have been made by the acting Premier of Victoria and acting prime minister of Australia, Ms Julia Gillard, to let Vic police do its job.  It is important that Vic police does a proper investigation, catch the criminals and prosecute them. These criminals need to face the full force of criminal justice system. Every one including Tony Abbott, Fed leader of opposition and Ms Julia Gillard, acting PM have condemned this murder.

Indian media, Indian Gov officials and Indian people in India have expressed their views and reactions about Nitin’s cold-blooded¬†murder. There are all sorts of emotions which have come out. Blogs, online comments, TV coverage and print media have given due importance to this murder. They have mentioned this murder in the context of a long series of assaults of Indian students in Australia.

Some people have called Nitin’s murder as a racism based murder. This is a comment which I have heard from many people and have seen this mentioned in Indian media.

Since full facts are not available about who did it and why they did it, we really should not jump to any premature conclusions. Nitin was alone when he was stabbed. All facts will come out once the police investigation progresses. We must remember that Vic police did a good job in investigating the assault of Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, Ex AMA president and culprits were given very lengthy sentences. This is what should happen here too.

May I urge people to stay away from premature conclusions. Let us all wait for the police investigation to be completed. Please do remember that Australia is a multi-cultural society and a vast majority of people here are tolerant of one another. We do not believe that Australia, as a whole, is a racist society. We, of course, have a small number of people who do have the racist views and such people do come from all colours. Racist people are everywhere and no country is an exception.

May I urge people to treat this killing as a crime matter and not see it from a race angle. It is a fact that Australia, like other countries, does have a crime problem and victims/culprits come from all communities/races. I have a patient who is Anglo-Saxon and he is 6 feet 6 inches tall. He was bashed severely a few months ago in Seven Hills in Sydney. He had to be in the ICU of Blacktown Hospital for several days. His bashers were also white. My point is that criminals have no race or religion of their own. Frail and old people of all races get assaulted by these low lives.

Melbourne seems to be lot more in news than Sydney when we see the issues of assaults of students. Why is this the case is difficult to understand. I do wonder though whether policing in Victoria has some issues. I do wonder whether they should consult with NSW Police about the situation in NSW. We know that NSW police has anti-organised crime squads which is not the case in Victoria. Should this strategy be followed by Vic police is the question for Vic Gov and Vic police to consider. 

¬†Do we need to¬† have a public education campaign on “Australia says no to racism” on the line of the one against domestic violence, an effective crime control by effective knife/weapon control and an effective sentencing as the strategies, are something which must be considered too.

I would like to emphasize again that I do not believe that Indians are specifically targeted. I also believe that we have a crime problem in our cities and people from all races are the victims.

I am praying for the soul of Late Nitin and I am praying for his family members in India. Our hearts should go out to them. We would not even be able to imagine how much distress they are going through.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/5th Jan, 2010

singhyadu@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Australia should sell Uranium to India:Australian Labor Party [ALP] should drop its objections to sell Uranium to India!

 

I was happy to see that Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Ms Julia Gillard and several federal ministers have visited India recently and now Prime Minister, Hon Kevin Rudd is visiting India in a couple of days.  He has already been to China, USA, Japan, Indonesia and many other countries, and I believe his Indian trip was truly overdue. His previous planned visit to India had to be postponed for various reasons. India is an important country for Australia on multiple fronts. Indian students’ issues aside, both countries enjoy friendly relations with one another.  We, Indians, in Australia, have a keen interest in seeing good relations between these two countries. We know that both Indian and Australian Governments are working seriously to fix the problems involving the Indian students.

Both countries must consider the interests of one another while doing business with one another. There are too many things which bind us together. These are our democracies, rule of law, multi-cultural societies, love of Cricket and memberships of the Commonwealth to name a few.

Australia and Australians are accepted as friends by India and Indians. I do not think the recent problems which our students faced, are going to cause a lasting damage to Australia-India relations.

Indian economy is growing and will keep growing for years to come. India is on a roll. The only thing which holds India down is the fact that it has a problem in regards to its energy supply. It needs more and more energy for all its needs. It is essential not only for India but it is also essential for the health of the world economy.

India has been exploring all sources of energy supply as its local supply is far shorter than what it needs. India has to import petroleum from the Arab countries¬†and is debating about the gas supply from Iran. Iranian Gas is however problematic as it has to transit via Pakistani territory which is a problem in itself. Pakistani Govt authorities will never be able to guarantee a secure transit due to its weakness and the presence of the ‚Äúnon-state actors‚ÄĚ there who are anti-India. In addition, India can not rule out a war between India and Pakistan which will create problems in the transit of the gas.

India is therefore¬†forced¬†to explore the option of atomic energy. It has no choice. Thanks to the leadership of The Prime Minister, Mr Man Mohan¬†Singh and US President, Mr George Bush, India has an India-specific NSG¬†exemption and India has been able to have¬†bilateral nuclear energy deals with USA, Russia,¬†France and some more countries. India needs a similar deal with Australia which will allow the Uranium sale to India. Australia has about 40% of world Uranium and¬†sells it to China. NPT¬†should not be¬†an obstacle for Australia to sell Uranium to India after the NSG’s¬†India specific exemption and with India’s impeccable record in nuclear non-proliferation.

We should remind ourselves about what the former Australian PM, Mr John Howard had said about such sale. He said that it would not be fair to sell Uranium to China and deny that to India. PM Howard was dead right.

It is therefore unfair for the ALP Gov to deny Australian Uranium to India. NPT issue is not relevant in regards to India as India has an impeccable records in these matters. Australian Foreign Minister Mr Stephen Smith’s press conference in New Delhi is worth going through. It is available through DFAT website. India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation unlike Pakistan and China. China is a NPT signatory but its record in these matters is not that great. Every body knows the nexus between China and Pakistan. We should not forget how North Korea got its atomic bombs. Pakistan would not have supplied anything to North Korea without the consent of China. Manuals in Chinese language were found even in Lybia which tried to buy things from disgraced proliferater AQ Khan of Pakistan.

Simply put, it makes no sense for Australian Uranium going to China but not to India. In fact, there is more justification for Uranium sale to India. It is fully justifiable if ALP drops it objection to selling Uranium to a non-NPT signatory country like India because India has a fault-free records in proliferation matters and this fact has been recognised by the world with the India specific NSG waiver. Australia itself supported this exemption actively.

I therefore urge the¬†Australian PM and ALP¬†to give India a ‚Äúfair go‚ÄĚ. This is what is expected¬†from a friendly country. It is not fair to bind Australia with the NPT¬†dogma and not see the whole¬†issue in a realistic way. A friend has to see the problems of the his/her friends properly. Australia is a friend of India. It showed it by supporting the NSG¬†exemption for India in Vienna last year. It shows it by supporting a permanent position¬†for India in UNSC.¬†It is about time that we see it once again by seeing Uranium trade between Australia and India. As we understand, it [ALP]¬†would not have any political fall out from its decision to sell Uranium to India because the Coalition is already in favour of doing so. It should not be a problem to amend Atomic energy Act, giving an India-specific exemption for Australian Uranium sale to India.

I urge my Australian Indian friends to lobby with their local MPs on this matter. We need to pool our energies in persuading the Australian Gov to sell Uranium to India.

I and thousands of my friends in Australia do believe strongly that Australia should sell Uranium to India. We find this refusal to sell Uranium to India to be unfair and illogical. India needs new and cleaner sources of  energy generation and nuclear energy is at the top of its list. Nuclear energy will not only help India but it will help the whole world as it will reduce pollution and carbon emission.

A time has come when Australia sees the issues properly and does the right thing. That right thing is to sell Uranium to India. PM Mr Kevin Rudd has a perfect opportunity to declare Australia’s intentions during his visit to New Delhi in a couple of days.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/09-11-09 

singhyadu@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

 

Student Visa Scam in Australia:One more story and one more angle!

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,26252691-12332,00.html

I am sick and tired of the scams, rorts and fraudulent acts on the name of Student Visa and International education in Australia.

Now, human smuggling has been mentioned.

Please clean it, investigate it and prosecute those who are involved in it.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/24th Oct, 2009

Was Indian Media hysterical and imbalanced in its reportings of Indian students’ troubles in Australia?

04/09/09

Yes, certain sections of Indian Media in India were but they did help bring the issues into the focus. Thank you, Indian media for that!

I have seen NDTV show with Burkha Dutt and it was a great programme. Burkha Dutt did a balanced programme. I have seen a programme with Arnab Goswami and I would not call it a great show. Arnab Goswami has a style which does not allow others to speak. He is an anchor who talks too much. His programme was not balanced. 

Australian media picked up the issues only after the Indian media has done what it did.

I do believe the “Racist” tag for everything in Australia was over the top reaction. It would have been good if Indian media also has done the investigation on the scams/rorts. They should have spoken with established Indian Australians who have been in Australia for years.

Indian media is free and we saw it vividly recently. We are proud of that fact.

I believe that Indian media in India did a necessary/vital job but they would have done a better job if they had an access to the views from Indian Australians who have been here for years. They would have done a better job if they had their journalists in Australia. They would have done a better job if they had not over-played a “Racism” tag.

India media, I say this to you. We have lived here for quite long. We are proud of our Indian heritage and we are equally proud of  being Australians. Like other countries in the world, Australia does have a crime situation. It may be even a lot better if the crime statistics are analysed comparatively. Australia is not perfect but it is not a racist country. Every country including India has some racist people and you can see that in the NDTV show with Burkha Dutt. Australia is no exception.Racism is a crime here and Australian policies are not racist like they were in South Africa during Apartheid era.

Yadu Singh

Is Australia a racist country: Yadu Singh on Channel Seven’s Sunrise

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=1341467&cl=13804821&src=y7lifestyle&ch=
Please have a look at the video which has my interview in SUNRISE/Channel 7.
 
Regards
 
Yadu Singh

Indian Consul General’s Community committee on Students’ Issues-What we did?

Information

yadu singh1

Indian Consul General’s Community Committee on Students’ Issues, Sydney, NSW was formed at the Indian Consulate on 6th April 2009. It did intensive work and completed its task in a¬†very efficient manner. After accomplishing its mandated task, it dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 and communicated this to the Indian Consulate on 1/7/09.

The committee had Harmohan Walia,Vish Viswanathan, Shubha Kumar, Stanley D’Cruz and Dr Yadu Singh as its members. I was its co-ordinator.

This committee had done following activities;
#met students numerous times.

#organised a students’ forum on 16th May at Strathfield.

#co-organised a students’ forum with UIA in Strathfield on 6th June.

#arranged help to a woman student who was a victim of domestic violence.

#arranged help to 2 women students who were stalked by another Indian co-worker.

#arranged meetings with minister of education, NSW and her senior advisers and students from an aviation school-Work in progress.

#arranged a meeting with the president, NSW upper House [Mr Peter Primrose] and Ms Helen Westwood MLA and students.

#arranged meeting of an aviation school student with consul General [this student gave him his papers].

#arranged a meeting with a community minded lawyer and aviation school students.

#met the mother of a student of an aviation school. This lady’s husband had died only 4 weeks ago due to the serious stress involved in losing the money with the school in Sydney without the required outcome.

#arranged and participated in TV coverage of students’ issues on Channel 7, 9, 10, SBS TV, ABC TV, and Bloomberg.

#participated in the coverage on ABC radio, SBS radio, SBS Hindi radio, 2UE, JJJ, Indian Link radio, Radio UMANG, 2GB radio and SBS Kannada Radio.

#arranged talk-backs on these issues on SBS radio and Radio UMANG [98.5MHZ, Fridays,8-9 PM]

#participated in coverage on SMH, The Australian, Daily Telegraph, other newspapers and AAP.

#participated in the coverage on Indian newspapers in Australia [The Indian, Indian Link, Indus Age, The Indian Sub Continent Times, Indian Down Under].

#participated in TimesNow, NDTV, CNN/IBN, Headlines Today, AajTak and other Indian TV Channels.

#participated in the coverage on main Indian newspapers and PTI.

#involved with some top-grade Australian media programmes with wide audience in getting students’ issues covered.

#arranged funds for the accommodation for the relatives Mr Rajesh Kumar [the petrol bomb victim from Harris Park] within 24 hours.

#met commander Robert Redfern , Parramatta Local area Command of NSW Police several times.

#did what we could do to persuade/help the students when they were on the Harris Park streets for 3 nights.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with chairman, Community Relations Commission [CRC] at CRC HQ

#participated in a CRC organised meeting with Indian students at Parramatta RSL.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with the Premier, Mr Nathan Rees

#Met Indian Consul General and Consul several times

#helped a prominent Indian TV channel with a documentary on true situation in Australia. One of us [Yadu Singh] was the citizen Journalist.

#discussed and formulated the strategy to solve the problems of our students.

#submitted our strategy to the NSW task force and other relevant authorities.

#provided leadership in the matters relating to Indian students.

#gave our after hours and week-ends for students’ work and provided pastoral care to the needy students.

#provided/facilitated medical help to the needy students/their family members.

#met the visiting Indian journalists at the Consulate.
The committee members were all hard-working people with top-grade integrity. They did not have any conflict of interest in the matters relating to Indian students. None of them were involved in the students’ placement in a school [after taking a commission], running of any such school or running of any business which could have a potential conflict of interest in any manner.

All members worked with full dedication, cohesion and team feeling without any undermining of one another. This itself is a rare thing for an Indian group. We are proud of our work and ourselves.

We appealed to every person from Indian background to stay away from any leadership role if they were involved in any activity which did/could create a conflict of interest in these matters but we did not succeed in this matter.

We raised our voice forcefully against the exploitation of Indian students by some Indian employers.

We also appealed to the Indian newspapers and Radio programmes to ask questions from every leader [on students’ issues] about their involvementin any activity which¬† created a conflict of interest in those matters. We suggested that the¬† media should start with the questions on conflict of interests when interviewing those leaders.

Dr Yadu Singh
Co-ordinator

Reply to:  singhyadu@gmail.com

PS: The committee had completed its task and dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 by informing the Consulate officially on 1/7/09.

Committee’s Strategies for Indian Students’ Issues in Australia

No doubt, our students have several significant issues and these issues have been raised with Governmental and Police authorities here. We are very confident about serious actions in these matters. There is no choice here because the International education industry in Australia worth $16 Billion [about $2-3 Billion from Indian students] is at risk if prompt actions are not implemented.

As you may know, a community committee has been formed in consultation with Indian Consul General, Sydney to help tackle these issues. The committee members are Harry Walia, Vish Viswanathan, Stanley D’Cruz, Shubha Kumar and Yadu Singh [Coordinator].Following is a brief description of issues and proposed action plans by the committee.

These issues are;

1.                     Safety and Security:

 

Brief Details:

Several cases of robbery & bashings of Indian Students in Sydney.

 

Proposed Action Plan

 

  • Educate students to REPORT the incidents to NSW Police. Reporting does not affect their VISA.
  • Lobby with Councils for a better lighting around Railway stations, car parks and ¬†alleys etc
  • Lobby with the local councils for the installation of CCTV for surveillance of crimes
  • Liaison with NSW Police re under-cover policing, more visibility and patrolling in hot-spots
  • Educate the students¬† to be street-smart and be aware of their¬† surroundings
  • Employers have a duty of care and must arrange them to be dropped off at their apartments if it is beyond 10 PM
  • Explore the issues involving ‚ÄúWork-cover‚ÄĚ matters in case of injury/assaults

 

2.                     Accommodation for Indian Students

 

Brief Details:

No assistance on arrival. Many students forced to share crowded apartments and Poor treatment by rental agents

 

Proposed Action Plan

 

  • Lobby with authorities re the provision of 3-6 months accommodation which must be organised by education providers at the market cost

 

  • Lobby with Immigration regarding ¬†this requirement [Visa must not be issued unless accommodation confirmed]

 

3.                     Quality of training:

 

Brief details:

 

Many students are exposed to poor quality of training by educational service providers & shady, shonky or bogus institutions.

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • Accreditation authorities/bodies to audit the quality of training randomly and frequently
  • Lobby with respective Govt. Agencies to take proper actions on proved cases
  • Surveys from the present/past students re the quality issues [anonymously]
  • Effective and prompt action by DEEWR/ACPET re alternate placement in schools/institutions or refund of the tuition fees if the educational provider goes out of business

 

4.                     Exploitation of Indian students:

 

Brief details:

 

Indian students are exposed to exploitation of all kinds & bullying in part time employment or by educational service providers. They are getting below-award wages in many cases. Some Indian employers are also involved in this type of exploitation.

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • To advise & educate students about their RIGHTS in Australia
  • To educate them re the appropriate agencies to deal with such matters
  • To encourage/facilitate genuine students‚Äô associations which are largely run by students themselves, not business people with hidden agenda and purposes.

 

  • Indian community leaders to understand the ‚Äúconflict of interests‚ÄĚ concept when taking the leadership role in students‚Äô matters. They must stay out from a leadership role if they are involved with any business involving students [schools or consultancy].¬† ¬†
  • To lobby for establishing an ¬†overseas Students‚Äô Ombudsman

 

5.                              Health Cover, other appropriate insurance matters and  emergency insurance:

 

Brief details:

 

Lack of proper/current Insurances and coverage by some students, particularly when they are on bridging Visa

 

Proposed Action plan:

 

  • Pre arrival Information package-in India
  • Lobby with government agencies re the need for the medical cover and emergency including death insurance.
  • Proper medical insurance including death insurance must be a condition for the Visa and such cover must be current at all times during the stay in Australia

 

6.                Social issues:

 

Brief details: poor communication, insufficient participation in local community events & meetings and poor public behaviour in many cases

 

Proposed action plan

 

  • Communication/education through community Radio, TV, newspapers and website.
  • Encourage participation of students in community events
  • Accept that we are the ambassadors of India
  • Know what is expected in every situation.
  • Encouraging and promoting ‚Äúwhen in Rome, do as Romans do‚ÄĚ policy for our students
  • www.indianstudents.net.au will be launched very soon with info on Australian rules/regulations, Australian ways, expected behaviour and rights/obligations [There is now sufficient information in these matters in High Commission of India, Canberra and Australian Gov websites]

 

7. Brief details: Indian students are unaware how to deal with emergency situations

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • To provide information packages on service providers and counselling services
  • Look into possibility of a Community Helpline for non-emergency matters
  • Set up a website and link it to the Indian High Commission/CGI

 

8.   Develop the Indian media leadership group for students’ and community issues. This would give an opportunity to exchange views, form strategies and execute them effectively. India Media group will help in dissemination of the information. We recognise that we need a good relation with Indian and Australian media to be able to do an effective advocacy of Indian students’ issues with various Gov agencies and relevant stake-holders.

 

9.   To set up an INDIAN Students’ Emergency assistance and BENOVALENT FUND

 

10. To seek actively sincere and genuine community members and students for the continuation of the outlined tasks. Most times, Indian community members are aware about the exploiters from our own community. We must take it as our social/community responsibility to do a social boycott of such exploiters. We believe that exploitation of Indian students by Indian community members is the lowest of low and a despicable behaviour.

 

11.  To lobby for some transport concession.It is available all over Australia except NSW and Vic. It would encourage more use of public transport which might also reduce the assaults/robberies of students.

 

12.  To bridge the gap between Indian students and established Indian Australians by reaching out to Indian students, inviting them to social gatherings, mentoring them and providing help whenever practicable/possible.

 

 

 

 

Dr Yadu Singh

Co-ordinator

singhyadu@gmail.com

 

**PS: 29/8/09

[1]. The above mentioned committee had prepared its report and forwarded its recommendations to the relevant authorities.

[2]. After completing its job, the committee had dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 and communicated its decision to the Consul General on 1/7/09.

[3]. This report is being published with the purpose of making the community aware of its contents.

Australia should sell Uranium to India:why, when and how!

Australia should sell Uranium to India

I was happy to know that Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Ms Julia Gillard is visiting India later this month and Prime Minister, Hon Kevin Rudd is going to visit India  a bit later this year.  He has already been to China, USA, Japan and Indonesia last year and I believe his Indian trip is truly overdue. His previous planned visit to India had to be postponed for various reasons. India is an important country for Australia on multiple fronts. Indian students’ issues aside, both countries enjoy friendly relations with one another.  We, Indians, in Australia, have a keen interest in seeing good relations between these two countries. We know that both Indian and Australian Governments are working seriously to fix the problems involving the Indian students.

Both countries must consider the interests of one another while doing business with one another. There are too many things which bind us together. These are our democracies, rule of law, multi-cultural societies, love of Cricket and memberships of the Commonwealth to name a few.

Australia and Australians are accepted as friends by India and Indians. I do not think the recent problems which our students faced, are going to cause a lasting damage to Australia-India relations.

Indian economy is growing and will keep growing for years to come. We are on a roll. The only thing which holds us down is the fact that we have a problem in regards to our energy supply. We need more and more energy for all our needs. It is essential not only for India but it is also essential for the health of the world economy.

We have been exploring all sources of energy supply as our local supply is far shorter than what we need. We have to import petroleum from the Arab countries¬†and are debating about the gas supply from Iran. Iranian Gas is however problematic as it has to transit via Pakistani territory which is a problem in itself. Paskistani Govt authorities will never be able to guarantee a secure transit due to its weakness and the presence of the ‚Äúnon-state actors‚ÄĚ there who are anti-India. In addition, we can not rule out a war between India and Pakistan which will create problems in the transit of the gas.

We are therefore forced to explore the option of atomic energy. We have no choice. Thanks to the leadership of Mr Man Mohan Singh and Mr George Bush, we have an India-specific NSG exemption and India has been able to have bilateral nuclear energy deals with USA, Russia, and France. We need a similar deal between India and Australia which will allow the Uranium sale to India. Australia has about 40% of world Uranium and sells it to China. NPT should not be an obstacle for Australia to sell Uranium to India.

We should remind ourselves about what the former Australian PM had said about such sale. He said that it would not be fair to sell Uranium to China and deny that to India. PM Howard was dead right.

It is therefore unfair for the ALP Gov to deny Australian Uranium to India. NPT issue is not relevant in regards to India as India has an impeccable records in these matters. Australian Foreign Minister Mr Stephen Smith’s press conference in New Delhi is worth going through. It is available through DFAT website. India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation unlike Pakistan and China. China is a NPT signatory but its record in these matters is not that great. Every body knows the nexus between China and Pakistan. We should not forget how North Korea got its atomic bombs. Pakistan would not have supplied anything to North Korea without the consent of China. Chinese manuals were found even in Lybia which tried to buy things from disgraced proliferator AQ Khan of Pakistan.

Simply put, it makes no sense for Australian Uranium going to China but not to India. In fact, there is more justification for Uranium sale to India. It is fully justifiable if ALP drops it objection to selling Uranium to non-NPT signatory country like India because India has a fault-free records in proliferation matters and this fact has been recognised by the world with the India specific NSG waiver.

I therefore urge the¬†Australian PM and ALP¬†to give India a ‚Äúfair go‚ÄĚ. This is what is expected from a friendly country. It is not fair to bind Australia with the NPT dogma and not see the whole issue in a realistic way. A friend has to see the problems of the his/her friends. Australia is a friend of India. It showed it by supporting the NSG exemption for India in Vienna last year. It shows it by supporting a permanent position for India in UNSC.¬†It is about time that we see it once again by seeing Uranium trade between Australia and India. As we understand, it [ALP]¬†would not have any political fall out from its decision to sell Uranium to India because the Coalition is already in favour of doing so. It should not be a problem to amend Atomic energy Act, giving an India-specific exemption.

I urge my Australian Indian friends to lobby with their local MPs on this matter. We need to pool our energies in persuading the Australian Gov to sell Uranium to India.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23rd Aug, 2009

Indian students in Australia:Fix the ills of international education!

There have been several reports about the assaults of the Indian students in Australia. These attacks have been called “Racist attacks” by the Indian media in India and some people in Australia. I do not agree with the “racist tag” for these attacks. I, like others, however condemn them and have asked the Police authorities to take effective actions to stop these attacks.¬†

The students’ issues are multi-dimentional and the stategy to tackle them has, by logic, to be multi-dimentional.

Following write-up will describe what should be done.
FIX THE ILLS OF THE INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA
 
31/7/09
 
You would have seen what was in the INSIGHT [SBS] and FOUR CORNERS [ABC] about International education recently. You would have also seen what was published on this matter in SMH and The Australian recently. Whatever is there is not pretty in regards to the International education. Rorts and scams are aplenty. Exploitation of students is the rule rather than the exception. Exploitation is happening in multiple fronts, starting from the agents in overseas countries and going to the schools and employments in Australia. There is no guarantee which certificate is genuine and which is worthless. International education schools have been called “Visa factories”. It has attracted headings of the nature ” A racket no one dares name”. It is really shocking and bringing a very bad name to Australia. Anybody who has a conscience must be getting agitated. I certainly am.
 
¬†It is about the time that we say “Enough is enough”. Not only the Aust Gov and its regulatory bodies must act but we the Indian community must act too.¬† If nobody acts, we risk the good name of this country itself getting a serious beating. It is not at a stage yet , I hope, that it can not be saved if the Gov agencies act decisively. We chose to live in Australia because we love to live here. If we love this country, then we ought to do everything which will not allow anyone to tarnish the good name of “Brand Australia”. We can never forget that this is the country where we have enjoyed and are enjoying our success and it is the country which our children will enjoy in future.
 
For our children’s sake, we do not want to have a situation that our education is looked down upon as useless when our children go for jobs all over the world. Some of our children would go and work all over the world as the the world has become a global village. Australia is a great country and we must not allow anyone to make it otherwise.
 
I have been in discussions with a large number of people from our background in recent days. I have also been talking with non-Indian Australians on these matters. It was gratifying to note that there was a general consensus about what needs to done in regards to International education.
 
In summary, it is about us including Aust Gov agencies, doing everything to maintain the good name of Australia and its brand recognition. It is also about maintaining the integrity of the Australian education and Immigration systems.
 
We will be able to do so if;
1.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies do their jobs in exposing, investigating and prosecuting those who are involved in rorts and scams

2.Australian media exposes the rorters and scamers vigorously irrespective of who is involved

3.International students are guaranteed the education which they were promised when they signed the contract after understanding our system from authentic sources, before getting the Visa at the Australian embassies/High Commissions which is further followed by a verifiable and mandatory orientation here at the schools about Australian systems, ways, rules, regulations, what is On and what is not On

4.International students are placed in other relevant schools or refunded their money ASAP if they are unable to receive the quality education

5.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies work ruthlessly and systematically in ensuring a good quality education for international students

6.Australian Gov works closely with Aust Universities and Overseas Governments in regulating the conducts of the education agents, operating on behalf of the educational providers

7.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies consider the issues of infra-structure and capacity before giving permission for schools to enrol students and then monitor these issues randomly and frequently

8.International education and permanent residence visa are de-linked in an effective way by reversing some ill-advised changes brought in by Howard Gov around 2005

9.We have an international students’ ombudsman system for these students to go to if they have a problem with the schooling or employment as the legal system is very expensive in Australia.

10.Visa conditions are effectively policed as many work for far more than what is allowed

11.Australian police does effective policing in regards to crimes against international students by following the culprits/criminals vigorously and by being proactive rather than reactive

12.we, the Indian community approach and encourage international students to mix and mingle with the general “established” Indian community and by being the mentors to them in the new environment

13.we, as the community, take the initiative to establish an Indian international students’ benevolent fund to provide assistance to these students in certain well-defined emergency situations. The contributors for such funds must include students themselves, schools/universities, Australian Gov, Indian Gov and Indian community, knowing that there are no free lunches

There is some significant justification for a separate ministry at the federal/state levels for International education when this is generating more than $15 Billions which is number 3 earner for our economy. It is worth thinking about.

Assistance by the education providers in locating the appropriate accommodation for the initial 6 months and some subsidy for the transport would be other issues which should be considered.

We also need to make it mandatory that every student is maintaining the valid and current medical cover during his/her stay as the medical treatment is very expensive in Australia.
 
As far as we the Indian Australians are concerned, we must resolve to not socialise with the rorters and scamers from our own community. It should not be difficult as they are tarnishing the good name of our community and we do not want that to happen.
 
We also need to show leadership and tell our Indian media off for calling every assault on Indian students as racist attacks because 1. it is not a true and fair commentary and 2. it is potentially harmful to us. Australia has been projected as a racist country by the Indian media which is completely baseless. Indian media’s coverage has been hysterical, unprofessional and anything but objective. We, the Indian community do not believe that we are living in a racist country.
 
We need to project ourselves as a fair and caring society which we are but we also need to project us as a system which will not allow rorts or scams to succeed irrespective of who the scamers or rorters are. Jail is the right place if the rorter is an Australian resident/citizen and deportation is the fate if that person is a student.
 
Can we do it? Yes, we can. We do not have any other choice because anything else is going to harm the image of the very country which we love. I would even go to the extent of saying that anything else would be “Un-Australian”.
 
I hope that more would be ready and willing to join me in this……. A time has come when we join together and name this racket for what it is. After all, $15 billion dollars [out of which $2-3 Billion is from Indian students] is lot less than the long term harm to Australia and Australians if we do not do something effective to root out the rorts and bring in the fairness in the system for all the parties.
 
Regards
 
Dr Yadu Singh
Cardiologist
Baulkham Hills, NSW