Explained | India’s educational and trade links in Ukraine

According to the Indian Embassy at Kiev, there are approximately 18,000 Indian students in Ukraine pursuing medical or engineering.

February 23, 2022 06:11 pm | Updated 06:26 pm IST

Indian students particularly look to pursue medical education in the country. Picture shows Indian nationals on their arrival from Ukraine amid rising Russia-Ukraine tension, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Indian students particularly look to pursue medical education in the country. Picture shows Indian nationals on their arrival from Ukraine amid rising Russia-Ukraine tension, in New Delhi on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

India would be keenly following developments as tensions continue to escalate between Ukraine and Russia. Its worries are not just restricted to geopolitical balance but also managing its economic interests and securing the well-being of its overseas citizens in Ukraine. 

Indian students in Ukraine

The Indian Embassy in Ukraine states there are more than 18,000 students studying medical or engineering in the country. According to data available on the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science (latest as of 2020), there are 18,095 Indian students in Ukraine – representing 23.64% of the overall international students grouping.

This Indian Embassy in Ukraine’s advisory on Tuesday said, “(The Indian Embassy) is engaged with respective authorities for streamlining of education process for Indian students”. It suggested that students leave the country temporarily and not wait for an official communication from their universities.

Director at the Ukrainian State Center for International Education Olena Shapovalova told online portal, The PIE that the situation in Ukraine was stable and there was no need to panic. She added that Ukranian universities continue to “operate as usual”. Separately, Ukrainian Ambassador to India Igor Polikha told news-house India Today, “Taking into account active negotiations that are underway, I don’t see any immediate reason for massive evacuation of Indian students in Ukraine. They should monitor the situation but should not panic.”

Why are Indian students in Ukraine?

Indian students particularly look to pursue medical education in the country. This is primarily because the tuition fees of private medical colleges back home are more expensive than those of the medical colleges in Ukraine. Other than being recognised by the World Health Council, the Ukrainian medical degrees are recognised by the Indian Medical Council, Pakistan Medical, and Dental Council, European Council of Medicine and General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.


According to the U.N. Comtrade data, India was the 15th largest export and the 2nd largest import market of pharmaceutical products for Ukraine in 2020. As for India, Ukraine is the 23rd largest export market and the 30th largest import for India in the same category.

Further, as pointed out by the Indian Embassy in Kiev, Indian pharmaceutical companies like Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Sun Group etc have representative offices in the Ukraine. They have collectively set up the Indian Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers’ Association (IPMA) in the country. 

India has a favourable trade balance with the Ukraine for pharmaceutical products. The former’s exports stood at $158.1 million and imports at $3.8 million in 2020, as per the U.N Comtrade data. India’s trade surplus stood at $154.3 million in the category. Ukraine, in terms of value, had a trade deficit of $232.7 million with respect to the bilateral trade of pharmaceutical products with India in 2020.

Overall, India had a trade deficit of $1.7 billion with Ukraine in 2020. The number is inclusive of exports which stood at $438.3 million and imports of $2.1 billion. 

Other than pharmaceutical products, India’s major exports to Ukraine in 2020 were electrical and electronic equipment, plastics and related articles, oil seeds, oleagaic fruits, grain, fruits, seeds and chemical products. India’s major imports from Ukraine are animal, vegetable fats and oil, cleavage products- totalling to $1.6 billion in terms of value in 2020 and fertilisers which stood at $232.8 million. 

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