A month after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised the issue, China on Friday announced plans to permit the return of “some” Indian students stranded here for over two years following visa and flight restrictions imposed by Beijing after the pandemic.

“China attaches high importance to Indian students’ concerns about returning to China for studies. We have shared with the Indian side the procedures and experience of other countries’ students returning to China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing.

“We understand that there is a large number of Indian students studying in China. India may need some time to collect the names. China is ready to receive some Indian students under the

current, complicated, severe epidemic situation. In handling foreign students returning to China for studies, we need to take into consideration the international epidemic situation, evolving circumstances, and their majors. This principle applies equally to all foreign students,” Zhao said.

“Actually, the work for Indian students’ return has already started. All that remains to be done is for the Indian side to provide the list of students who really need to come back to China,” he said.

According to estimates, over 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine, are stuck in India after they returned home following the Covid-19 outbreak in China in December 2019. They could not return to China due to the restrictions imposed by the government there.
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