After two years of Beijing's strict COVID visa ban, China permitted some Sri Lanka students to return to the country and resume their studies on campus, keeping 23,000 Indian students waiting for a decision.
Thousands of international students from different countries, including India, had been asked to return to their native countries due to COVID-19 travel restrictions since March last year.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Sri Lankan Embassy announced that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo has finalised "two groups" of students to return to China. The additional students are in the process to return to China. The total number of students is still not confirmed.
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The Indian government has been urging China to allow the return of over 23,000 Indian students (mostly studying medicine). External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the issue with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during his visit to New Delhi last month.
Before Sri Lanka, China had permitted students from Pakistan, Thailand and Solomon Island to return, but remained silent not on thousands of Indian students and hundreds of Indian employees to travel back to China.
Earlier, reports stated that China had promised the Indian Embassy that they will work on the early return of Indian students. It further assured that the Indian students will not be discriminated against in any manner as their resumption of studies have nothing to with the political issue between India and China.
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When questioned about permitting students from other countries, but not India, Wang said that to ensure sound epidemic prevention and control, it is allowing a small number of international students with actual needs to return to China keeping in mind of "changing international epidemic situation" and the "characteristics of the students' majors".
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Source: The Economic Times