India may launch visa process timeline for Afghan students in 3 months

Afghan students demonstrate outside the Indian embassy in Kabul September 29 as they demand Prime Minister Modi to reinstate student visas for them. |

Mumbai: In a development that gives hope to thousands of Afghan students stranded in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, a timetable for the visa process could be initiated by Indian government authorities for citizens of the war-torn country. in 2-3 months, depending on the consular officer. to the Consulate General of Afghanistan, Mumbai, Rafi Kelewal.

“We are working with the Indian government to prioritize visas for Afghan students, who are in the middle of their studies. We don’t have any confirmation on the visas yet, but the Indian authorities have promised us that there will be a deadline for the same within 2-3 months,” said Kelewal, who added that more than 2,000 students are waiting for their visa. they are admitted to Indian universities.

More ICCR scholarships awarded as India seeks trust and efficiency from Afghans

The consulate official’s statement comes amid comments by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar regarding the return of Afghan students to India at an event in Vadodara, who attributed the delay to logistical problems created by the closure of the Indian Embassy in Kabul in August 2021 when the Taliban government took control of Afghanistan. Responding to a question from an Afghan student from Gujarat, Jaishankar said “a level of confidence and efficiency” must come out for visas to be restarted despite India previously announcing an e-visa program of emergency, which for the most part were to minority Hindu and Sikh Afghan nationals.

Despite uncertainty over scholarships and visas for Afghan students, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), which operates under the Indian government and builds the country’s cultural relations abroad, has awarded 950 scholarships to students Afghans for the 2022-2023 academic year. but the recipients for the same are bachelors and masters students who are already in India and will be pursuing post-graduation and Ph.D. respectively. “Some 750 students from Afghanistan have been admitted to India using the ICCR scholarship which is amazing but the students who have returned to the country due to the Covid pandemic and have not been able to return since that the Taliban regime is losing,” said Kelewal who added that since India does not provide work visas or opportunities for international students, many seek greener pastures in Europe.

Asian nations come for not-so-optimistic Afghan students

Although Europe may seem ambitious for Afghan students, some have already abandoned the “Indian dream” to study in other Asian countries. is one of thousands of female students in the Islamic Emirate who have been embarrassed by Taliban dictates on girls’ education. The eldest in her family, Kinaaz (name changed) was provisionally admitted to India for a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in July 2021 before the regime change, but has now moved to Bangladesh to continue her studies. “I couldn’t afford to wait long for an Indian visa so a friend of mine who is already here asked me to apply,” said Kinaaz who got admission to Asian Women’s University Chittagong , an international institution, and found it. be the only way to escape Afghanistan. “I came here two weeks ago and our classes have already started and we will learn English and other pre-UG subjects after which I might consider economics for graduation,” Kinaaz said. who has no intention of returning to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. and would prefer to apply for scholarships in other countries.

Some have set their sights on the West, but not exactly on Europe or the United States. Saqibullah Sadi, a third-year student at Savitribai Phule Pune University, chose Turkey as his study destination and arrived in the country two weeks ago with other Afghan nationals. A recipient of the ICCR scholarship, Sadi decided to cancel it due to growing uncertainty about his future. “I got a new scholarship from Yaşar University in BBA because I had to cancel the one from India because they stopped responding to our visa applications,” said Sadi, who is currently in the process of passing medical tests in the transcontinental country. “Although I am currently staying with my friends and family here, I am worried about the rent in Turkey,” Sadi continued.

New protests by Afghan students against Indian authorities

Afghan hopefuls demonstrated outside the Indian embassy in Kabul for the second time in two months with a call for EAM Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The student visa is our human right”, “We want an Indian visa, do not ignore us”, read the texts on placards brought by Afghan students, who have registered in Indian institutions. “We are still paying fees for our studies in India while dealing with the repercussions of poor internet and deteriorating mental health. Often the fees don’t even go through as the banks refuse to cooperate unless we have strong proof of studying at an Indian university,” said Noorul Rahimzai, a civil engineering student at the Technical University of Punjab, who has been at the forefront of protests against the denial of Indian visas.

In July 2022, a meeting was held between the students and the Taliban government regarding India visas and physical tuition, at which the regime agreed to raise the issue with the Indian Embassy through of the “services concerned”.

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