Warne does his bit for peace

2010-03-02 21:10
Shane Warne shows an Indian student his art of spinning the ball during the picnic. (AFP)

Melbourne - Cricket great Shane Warne attended a picnic with some of the Indian community on Tuesday to help soothe strained Australia-India relations over recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Warne mingled with members of Victoria state's Indians, shaking hands, posing for photographs and signing autographs as guests dined on somosas and sandwiches at Parliament House.

He assured guests he was listening to their concerns about attacks on Indians studying in Victoria, his home state.

"It's important for me as a Victorian ... to keep building the relationship with India and Australia, and particular Victoria," Warne told the crowd.

"I want to listen, really, to hear what the students have to say and see what these guys ... how they're feeling about things."

Warne was due to leave for India on Thursday to captain the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

"I'll keep pushing the message across over there. I love India, I love Rajasthan when I play cricket there, so to me it was a natural thing," he said.

Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith reiterated Australia's disgust at the attacks when he arrived in New Delhi on a three-day visit to review preparations for the Commonwealth Games in October.

"We have zero tolerance for assaults on any individual in Australia, we have zero tolerance for assaults on Indians in Australia, we have zero tolerance for assaults on anyone else who comes to Australia," Smith said. "Regrettably we know, as I said to our Parliament, there have been some racial or racist overtones to a small number of those assaults and we condemn that absolutely."



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