The newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Australia His Excellency Manpreet Vohra along with his wife Mrs Naseem Vohra met with prominent members of the Indian community in Queensland on July 18. The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Gold Coast chapter hosted a community lunch meeting with the new High Commissioner of India to Australia and his wife. The Honorary Consul of India Queensland, Mrs Archana Singh also graced the occasion as a chief guest. Despite the event being limited in capacity due to Covid restrictions, it was attended by many of Gold Coast’s prominent business, cultural and community leaders and other representatives of the Indian diaspora.
Mr Vohra also met Indian community members on his maiden visit to Brisbane on the same day as part of a social meet organised by the Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland (FICQ) in association with the High Commission of India in Canberra.
Mr Vohra, the erstwhile Ambassador of India to Mexico, was appointed as the High Commissioner of India to Australia on March 1st this year. The senior diplomat who is a 1988 batch Indian Foreign service officer took up the baton from the previous High Commissioner Mr Gitesh Sarma at a time when the strategic partnership between India and Australia is at a peak point with both countries working closely on all fronts, especially in fortifying the Indo-Pacific region against Chinese incursion.
Recently the High Commissioner also had a talk with Vice Chancellor Iain Martin of Deakin University via a video conference call regarding the return of Indian students enrolled at the university who are still stuck in India and commencing their on-campus classes as soon as possible. In June, New South Wales and South Australia had declared their intention to bring back overseas students in a staggered manner. Since then the hope that other states too would take a page from the aforementioned states’ book has been mounting.
The Indian High Commission has emphasized that concerted efforts are being made to facilitate the return of Indian students to the Australian campuses and they are leaving no stone unturned in persuading the authorities concerned to speed up the process. The data gathered from the official state records revealed that more than 100,000 international students are continuing with their classes remotely and the Indians account for a substantial proportion of such students.
A Deakin University representative has stated that Ambassador Vohra sought transparency regarding the exact date when students could expect to return and what protocol and precautions they needed to follow. It was also expressly stated that the University values the strong and close ties between India and Australia and is constantly working towards prompt and safe return of all the international students albeit gradually.