Indian students who were studying in China before the pandemic have started returning to the country, Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Zha Liyou, said and emphasised that direct flights between the two countries should resume at the earliest. Flights between India and China have been suspended following the COVID-19 outbreak and have not resumed since.
Speaking to journalists in Kolkata on Wednesday, Mr. Zha said that his office in Kolkata and the Chinese Embassy have already issued visas to many students and more have expressed their wish to go back to China. The Consul General further pointed out that flights connecting many cities in China and cities in India’s neighbourhood like Dhaka, Colombo and in Myanmar have resumed.
“We have to resume flights soon,” Mr. Zha said. He added that not only students but many of “his chamber friends (representatives of chambers of commerce in Kolkata)” want resumption of flights.
Mr. Zha pointed out that during the pandemic many businessmen used chartered flights to return and added that even oxygen concentrators were brought to India using special flights. The Consul General suggested similar arrangements can be made for the time being.
According to reports, there are 23,000 students from India studying medicine in Chinese universities and a vast majority of them are waiting to resume their courses.
The Chinese diplomat made these observations on the sidelines of a briefing here where he talked to reporters on the 20th National Congress of Communist Party of China, which was held recently. The Consul General skirted questions on the border dispute between the two countries after Galwan Valley clashes and added that he cannot comment on bilateral issues. Mr. Zha, however, said that according to what he has learnt the situation was “back to normal”. During his address, the Consul General said both India and China are peace loving countries and “we have to do things our own way”.