Why Are Indian Students Not Able To Return To China?

Indian students who enrolled in Chinese Universities are still stranded in their domestic country due to the continuing and strict restrictions since last year. Most of the students have been in India since January 2020, when Chinese colleges and universities closed for their Lunar New Year break.    

China imposed restrictions on international flights due to the outbreak of coronavirus.    

Even when there was a decline in Covid cases, China did not lift the travel ban on India. Instead of lifting the travel ban, the Chinese government suggested Indian students stay in touch with their universities in China and follow their instructions. Hence, they had to continue their classes online. Some continue to attend recorded classes and calls with faculty members as the Chinese administration still hasn’t lifted the travel ban on Indians.   

It’s difficult for students pursuing courses like medicine to continue online lessons as such a course requires practical exposure.   

2019 data by the Union Education Ministry indicated that around 23,000 Indian students were enrolled at Chinese higher education institutions, out of which 21,000 students enrolled to study medicine.   

The Indian government has written to the Beijing authorities several times requesting to lift the travel ban and allow Indian students to enter China, but it hasn’t responded positively yet.    

Last month, in recent developments, Rajya Sabha member M V Shreyams Kumar wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar flagging concerns about thousands of Indian medical students pursuing studies in Chinese universities unable to go back back to complete their studies due to travel restrictions. Mr Kumar also urged the minister to look into the matter at the diplomatic level.   

In turn, Dr S Jaisankar said, “The ministry and Embassy in Beijing have taken up the issue of return of Indian students with the concerned Chinese authorities on several occasions,” reported news agency PTI.   

He added that the ministry had conveyed the concerns to the National Medical Commission (NMC), which looks after this issue particularly and advised students to “pursue with NMC for a resolution of this matter.”    

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