India, China discuss returning stranded students, resuming direct flights

India and China have discussed the return of thousands of Indian students stranded at home for two years due to Beijing-imposed COVID-19 bans and the resumption of direct flights disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Thursday. the Indian Embassy.

The contentious issue of returning Indian students figured in talks between Indian Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday.

Wang recalled his meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar during his visit to New Delhi in March this year and mentioned that “the Chinese side attaches importance to the concerns of the Indian side regarding the return of Indian students and that he hoped to see rapid progress on this. “, a press release from the Indian Embassy quoted Wang as saying.

Foreign Minister Wang also referred to talks on resuming direct air connectivity between the two sides, he added.

“Ambassador Rawat has conveyed that the relevant agencies in India are seized of the matter and we may soon see progress in this matter,” he said.

China, in recent months, has begun allowing “certain” foreign students to return to the country.

On June 20, the first group of 90 Pakistani students, stuck at home for about two years due to China’s strict visa restrictions, arrived in the Chinese city of Xian.

They are among 250 Pakistani students that China has agreed to allow to return based on their needs while thousands more await the green light from Beijing, according to Pakistani media.

Likewise, some of the stranded students from other countries, including Russia and Sri Lanka, are gradually being allowed to return.

In April, after repeated representations from India, China agreed to allow the return of “certain” Indian students and asked the Indian embassy here to collect contact details for those wishing to return.

According to official reports from China, more than 23,000 Indian students are studying in Chinese colleges, mostly medical courses.

More than 12,000 Indian students have expressed their wish to return and their details have been passed on to the Chinese government for processing.

China has yet to come up with a criteria for allowing students to return, as Beijing is reluctant to allow their immediate return in large numbers given the country’s recent spike in COVID-19.

Last week, China announced plans to provide visas to Indian professionals and their families working in various Chinese cities who have been stuck at home for more than two years due to COVID-19 visa bans imposed by Beijing.

The Chinese Embassy in India has updated its COVID-19 visa policy after more than two years to accept visa applications from foreign nationals and their accompanying family members wishing to travel to China for the resumption of the work in all areas.

This week it was updated with COVID-19 protocols for visa holders to follow when traveling to China. While opening visa services to Indians, China and India have yet to announce plans to resume flight services between the two countries.

Currently, only diplomats between the two countries fly expensive flight routes to third countries.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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