India has taken up with Chinese authorities the issue of Indian students not being able to return to China, according to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who also said the authorities have repeatedly conveyed that foreign students should be advised that their studies are likely to continue through online means even for the next semester. In a letter to Rajya Sabha member MV Shreyams Kumar, Jaishankar also said the ministry and the Embassy in Beijing have taken up the issue of return of Indian students with the concerned Chinese authorities on several occasions.
Last month, Kumar had written to the minister flagging concerns regarding thousands of Indian medical students pursuing studies in China not being able to go back to complete their studies due to travel restrictions. He had also urged the minister to take up the issue at the diplomatic level. “The Chinese side has maintained that the restrictions have been introduced in view of the pandemic and they would adjust the same based on the global pandemic scenario. Unfortunately, there has been no positive evolution of this situation so far.
“In fact, with reports of resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some parts of China, the concerned authorities have moreover reinforced epidemic controls and restrictions on travel and entry within China,” Jaishankar said in the letter dated July 30. He also said the Chinese authorities have repeatedly conveyed that foreign students should be advised that their studies are likely to continue only through online means even for the next semester.
With regard to the issue of non-recognition of degrees of students who have completed their medical education online, Jaishankar said the ministry has conveyed the concerns to the National Medical Commission (NMC) which looks later this particular issue. Students may be advised to pursue with NMC for a resolution of this matter, he added. “I would like to assure you that the Ministry of External Affairs and our Embassy in Beijing will continue to follow up on the matter so that students needing to return to China to complete their education can execute so as soon as the Government of People’s Republic of China eases its restrictions,” the minister said.
According to Kumar, there are around 20,000 Indian students, including 3,000 from Kerala, enrolled in Chinese universities for studying MBBS. The students returned in January 2020 at the peak of COVID-19 and have been attending online classes since then without having practical and clinical training.
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