China begins process to allow some Indian students to return

An agreement was reached after a meeting of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Updated - April 30, 2022 10:51 am IST

Published - April 29, 2022 05:26 pm IST - Hong Kong

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. File

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

China will allow some Indian students to return to resume their studies after a two-year gap on a “need-assessed basis”, Indian officials said on Friday.

An agreement to allow their return was reached following the meeting of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on March 25 in New Delhi, the Indian Embassy in Beijing said in a statement.

The Chinese side “has expressed its willingness to consider facilitating the return of Indian students to China on a need-assessed basis,” the Embassy said, adding that to facilitate the process, it was compiling a list of students who wish to return. Students have been asked to provide information about their cases by filling up a form made available on the website of the Indian Embassy in Beijing.

Confirming the agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China had “shared with the Indian side the procedures and experience of other countries’ students returning to China.”

Sri Lanka last week said it had reached an agreement with China for some students to return. Previously, both South Korea and Pakistan have also indicated they had been given the green light for their students to return.

No timeline

“The work for Indian students’ return has already been started,” Mr. Zhao said. “We understand there is a large number of Indian students studying in China. India may need sometime to collect the names. China is ready to receive some of the Indian students under the current complicated severe epidemic situation,” he added, referring to the current spread of Omicron cases in China which has led to a harsh lockdown in Shanghai.

China has not, however, provided a timeline for when it might open up and when the students will be able to return.

Following a meeting of the Communist Party’s Politburo on Friday, the Chinese leadership reaffirmed its “dynamic zero COVID” policy and said it would remain vigilant on “imported” infections, suggesting little prospect of China opening up after more than two years of isolation from the world.

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