The government on Thursday said it has been taking up with the Chinese authorities the issue of the return of Indian students to China to resume their studies. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan, replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, said a large number of Indian students had come back to India when all universities in China had closed down following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said China had restricted travel by suspending visa and residence permits from March 27, 2020, in view of the pandemic. “As per information available, approximately 20,000 Indian students were enrolled in various courses including clinical medicine courses in different Chinese universities at that time,” he said. “A large number of them returned to India when all universities in China had closed down,” he added.
Muraleedharan said the universities in China have not reopened fully as on date. “The government has been taking up the matter of the return of Indian students with the Chinese authorities both in New Delhi and through our Embassy in China. Regular updates have been given in this regard by the Embassy to the Indian students,” Muraleedharan said. He said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had taken up the matter with the National Medical Commission and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to explore options to address the concerns of the affected students. The minister said the commission has issued a circular on March 4 stating that in view of a large number of Indian medical students in foreign institutions who have not been able to complete internships, it has decided to accept applications from such foreign medical graduates to complete the remaining part of an internship in India.
Muraleedharan said the Chinese government has advised Chinese universities to maintain contact with foreign students and continue classes online. To a separate question, he said the MEA has received and addressed” a total of 4957 NRI marital complaints from Indian brides and grooms over the last five years. The minister said a total amount of Rs 64 lakhs has been spent for providing legal and financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their overseas Indian/foreign husbands under the Indian Community Welfare Fund from 2017 to 2021.
Muraleedharan said 231 passports of the NRIs, implicated in the disputes, have been revoked/cancelled during the last five years.