Australia may be officially denying it, but many Down Under admit attacks on Indians students in their country in the past 3-4 years have been mostly driven by racism, US cables leaked by Wikileaks claim.
In the cables, US embassy officials quote Australian high commissioner to India Peter Varghese, an ethnic Malayali, and Bob Birrell, Australia's preeminent scholar on population and migration studies. "... the Australian high commissioner in Delhi did acknowledge race has likely played a role in some of the attacks," notes Dan Clune, deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in Canberra, in a cable dated January 2009.
US officials noted, often with amusement betrayed by colourful headlines, how Australia was forced to engage in "band aid" diplomacy to save its education industry - its third-biggest foreign exchange earner.
Melbourne consulate of the US sought explanation of the attacks from Birrell. "Dr Birrell believes racism has indeed fueled the student violence issue," a cable from the consulate in February last year said.
Birrel explained how lack of affordable housing pushed Indian students to farther-flung suburbs with high concentrations of immigrants from Somalia and Vietnam.
"While solid data is hard to come by, Birrell points out that perpetrators of many of these crimes are not white Australians, but other first- or second-generation immigrants from these 'tougher' countries," the cable signed by US' Melbourne consul general Michael Thurston said.
It also described some plain speaking by Indian consul general in Melbourne Anita Nayar, who said she was beginning to look over her shoulders while walking around the city's central business district.