Following the meeting of External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S Jaishankar with the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Wang Yi on March 25th expressed its willingness to consider facilitating the return of Indian students to China on a need-assessed basis.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that China attaches high importance to Indian students’ concerns about returning to China for studies. “We have shared with the Indian sides the procedures and experience of other countries’ students returning to China,” he said. “The work for Indian students’ return has already been started. All that remains to be done is for the Indian side to provide the list of students who need to come back to China,” he added.
Indian students studying in Chinese colleges mostly studying medicine are back in India after the coronavirus broke out in China in December 2019. They could not return to China due to the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government to control the spread of the pandemic. Since then, they made desperate attempts to return to China to re-join their classes but they had to satisfy themselves with online classes as Beijing cancelled all flights and visas for Indians.
Other than students, the families of Indians working in China too were stuck back home given China’s cancellation of visas and flights from India. “We understand that there is a large number of Indian students studying in China. India may need some time to collect the names. China is ready to receive some of the Indian students under the current complicated severe epidemic situation. In handling foreign students returning to China for studies, we need to take into consideration the international epidemic situation, the evolving circumstances, and their majors. This principle applies equally to all foreign students,” Zhao said.
Recently China started permitting students from some friendly countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand to return but remained silent about allowing Indian students as well as hundreds of family members of Indians working in China to travel back.