With Indian students still unable to return to China, India sticks to stand on refusal of tourist visas

With Indian students still unable to return to China, India sticks to stand on refusal of tourist visas
New Delhi: With no headway yet on the issue of Indian students returning to China, India on Thursday stuck to its stand of denial of tourist visas for Chinese citing the Covid situation in that country even as it said that both sides should work towards a solution to allow the return of Indian students, after which New Delhi would see “what can be done on other kinds of visas”.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in his media briefing, said that there was some announcement of modalities of seeing how Indian students can go back to China, referring to an announcement by Beijing on April 29 of its willingness to consider the return of Indian students “on a need-assessed basis”.
“As you know this is a priority for us and we have been saying this from this platform and raising it. I know that there’s some information that was collected by our embassy,” he said, referring to the list of Indian students prepared by the Indian Embassy in Beijing and was to be shared with the Chinese side.
“I don’t have the latest update on what exactly has happened on this or whether students have started to go. I haven’t seen any reports that indicate that they are back there yet,” the MEA spokesperson said.
“We would
 certainly continue to press the Chinese side to take measures so that Indian students whose opportunities require that they go back are able to go and they do not suffer any more due to the restrictions,” he added. Nearly 22,000 Indian students have been unable to return to China since November 2020, as Beijing suspended issuance of visas to them citing Covid restrictions.
Referring to the issue of India cancelling tourist visas for Chinese nationals, the spokesperson said: “I don’t think there was a cancellation… We basically said that given the Covid situation in China or in certain cities there, it wasn’t an opportune time to look at resuming grant of tourist visas, because there are certain visas that are continuing.”
“I don’t think the situation would have changed too much. This is not a new decision, this situation exists in terms of Covid related restrictions…. I think both sides should understand the plight of students who are stuck, and I think let us work towards that,” he added.
“And as the situation on Covid improves (in China), of course, as we have done with other countries we’ll see what can be done with other kinds of visas,” the spokesperson added.
The issue of Indian students had been raised strongly by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Delhi on March 25.

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