Beijing | Jagran News Desk: China on Friday said that it will facilitate the return of Indian students to China on a need-assesses basis. Many Indian students couldn't travel to China for over two years following the visa and flight restrictions imposed by Beijing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after the meeting of External Affairs Minister of India, S Jaishankar with the State Councilor and Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi on 25 March.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here 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”.

"Actually, 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 really need to come back to China," he said.

The Indian Embassy in China has directed the Indian students to provide the necessary information by filling up a Google Form by May 8, 2022.

"Once the collated information is shared with the Chinese side, they would consult relevant Chinese departments to verify the list and indicate whether the identified students can travel to China to complete the course. This coordination process would be carried out in a time-bound manner," read the statement.

As per the Embassy, the Chinese side has also conveyed that eligible students should unconditionally abide by the Covid-19 prevention measures, and has agreed to bear all expenses related to Covid-19 prevention measures by themselves.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that it has been regularly raising the issue of Indian students pursuing medicine from Chinese Universities being unable to return to China to attend classes, but has not gotten any positive response from the other side.

The remarks were made by MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in response to questions citing reports according to which China is facilitating the return of students from countries like Sri Lanka.

"I have seen some reports, but I don't want to speculate here that some students are going back. We are concerned about students in India and on that, we don't have any movement yet... so if the Chinese are looking at options on how they can get students in, I sincerely hope, that Indian students would also benefit from that mechanism," Bagchi said.

"As regards the issue of students, yes, this is something which has come up a couple of times. We have discussed, I think even on this forum we have responded. During the visit of Chinese FM Wang Yi, I think the EAM himself mentioned that we had taken it up," the MEA spokesperson added.

As per earlier reports, over 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine in Chinese colleges, are stuck in India after they returned home as 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 arrest the spread of the contagion.

Since then, they made desperate attempts to return to China to re-join their classes but had to confine themselves to online classes as Beijing cancelled all flights and visas for Indians.

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta