Days after accounting graduate Nitin Garg was stabbed to death in Melbourne, the incident has not just triggered anger but also speculation of strained diplomatic ties between India and Australia.
Australian authorities have repeatedly maintained the attacks were not racially motivated, an argument spurned by the Indian press that cited past incidents of a similar nature, targeting mainly Indians on a student visa.
From the point of view of Australian authorities, terming the attacks as racial will have larger ramifications for a country whose economy depends on the international student sector to a great extent.
It is Australia’s third largest export earner, worth A$13 billion ($11.86 billion) in 2007-08.
Once it is branded as a destination where students of ethnic origin are unsafe, the education sector can expect a large loss of revenue which may also spill over on its tourism industry.