China says first batch of Indian students to return “very soon”

China on Tuesday said that the process of return of Indian students to their Chinese universities has begun and first batch should be able to return to China very soon.

Students from many countries have returned to China including from Pakistan and Sri Lanka but there is no clarity yet about Indian students’ return as to how and when this process start. “We believe we will see the return of the first batch of Indian students very soon. We will release relevant information in due course,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said this in Beijing without giving any timeline for their return.

He said this in response to a question on return of Indian students amid reports that China has allowed visa to students from countries including Bangladesh and Mongolia in recent days. Indian side has months ago handed over to the Chinese side a list of Indian students who are willing to return to China, however, there is no definite response so far from Chinese side on the matter.

Last month, China said that the competent authorities of India and China are in close communication for the resumption of flights and to bring back the first group of Indian students to China at an early date. More than 20000 Indian students have been waiting to return to their universities in China for more than two years as they came to India in different phases since the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020 and could not return as China put severe restrictions on international travel.

China has still imposed many COVID related restrictions on international travel to China especially from India and both countries do not have a direct flight at the moment.

Even though China has started the visa for Indians for the purpose of family reunion and other Indian professionals, but lack of direct flights is a big dampener in travel, along with high cost of connecting flights and quarantine hotels and hassle of getting green health code in transit countries. China has not yet made any announcement about resuming the student visa to Indian students who are waiting for their return to their universities in China.

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