NEW DELHI, 25 Mar: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday raised with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi the issue of return of Indian students to China to resume their studies, and expressed hope that Beijing would adopt a “non-discriminatory approach” towards it.
Jaishankar held extensive talks with Yi, who arrived in Delhi on Thursday evening on an unannounced visit.
“I took up strongly the predicament of Indian students studying in China who have not been allowed to return, citing Covid restrictions. We hope that China will take a non-discriminatory approach since it involves the future of so many young people,” Jaishankar said at a media briefing shortly after the talks.
“Minister Wang Yi assured me that he would speak to the relevant authorities on his return on this matter. He also recognised the particular concerns that medical students have in this difficult situation,” he said.
A large number of Indian students had come back to India when China closed down all universities following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
China had restricted travel by suspending visa and residence permits from 27 March, 2020, in view of the pandemic.
According to information available, approximately 20,000 Indian students were enrolled in various courses, including clinical medicine courses, in different Chinese universities at that time, MoS for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The students are now struggling to return to the universities. India has been taking up the matter of the return of Indian students with the Chinese authorities both in New Delhi and through its embassy in China.
In the media briefing, Jaishankar said that matters pertaining to trade and investment also figured. “We continue to press for fairer market access,” he said.
Jaishankar said the Afghan situation also figured in the talks.
“We discussed today specific regional situations. Insofar as Afghanistan is concerned, India’s policy is guided by the UN Security Council Resolution 2593,” he said.
The UNSC Resolution 2593, adopted on 30 August under India’s presidency of the global body, talked about the need for upholding human rights in Afghanistan, demanded that Afghan territory should not be used for terrorism and that a negotiated political settlement should be found out to the crisis.
“On Ukraine, we discussed our respective approaches and perspectives but agreed that diplomacy and dialogue must be the priority,” Jaishankar said.
“We also spent some time on multilateral issues. I emphasised the need to take forward the long overdue reform of the UN system, including the Security Council,” he said. (PTI)