Government on Return of Students


India and China are in touch with each other to work out the modalities for facilitating the return of Indian medical students to that country, the government informed Parliament on Friday. Thousands of Indian students are unable to return to China for over two years due to Beijing’s COVID-19 restrictions.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said the Centre has been taking up the matter of return of the Indian students with the Chinese authorities. Muraleedharan said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during their meetings on March 25 as well as on July 7.

”The Chinese side has recently expressed its willingness to consider facilitating the return of a limited number of Indian students on a trial basis depending upon need,” he said. Accordingly, the Indian embassy in Beijing issued a press release on April 29, seeking the details of the students who intend to return to China to continue their studies, the minister said.

“A list of all such students willing to return to China has been provided to the Chinese side for their consideration. The two sides are currently in touch with each other to work out further modalities for facilitating the return of Indian medical students to China,” Muraleedharan said. He said the government will continue to pursue the matter with the Chinese authorities.

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The minister said the Chinese embassy issued a notice last month, updating its visa policy for Indian citizens. According to the notice, China will start accepting visa applications from foreign nationals and their accompanying family members going to the country for resumption of work, he said.

To a specific question on whether the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is in discussions with Hungary, Russia and other countries for admitting Indian medical students who returned from Ukraine following the conflict, the minister replied in the affirmative. ”Yes. The Ministry of External Affairs has been in touch with various countries regarding continuation of medical education in respect of Indian students who have returned from Ukraine,” he said.

At the same time, Muraleedharan noted that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is the nodal ministry for medical education. ”This issue will also need to be seen in the context of existing guidelines of the National Medical Commission on migration between universities in different countries,” he said.

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