Thousands of Indian students enrolled in universities abroad have been stuck at home because of travel and border restrictions in many countries. There are also students who plan to join foreign universities in the Fall 2021 term but are unable to do so. Taking cognizance of the situation and understanding the plight of those affected, the Indian government has been raising the issue of easing travel restrictions for Indians with overseas governments, citing the improved COVID-19 situation in the country.
Notably, many Indian students pursuing studies in countries such as China, Italy, Spain, and Canada have been stranded at home for many months.
While many students were able to return home just before the first wave hit some countries like Italy, Spain and China, they were unable to return since then because of strict restrictions. Many of them have been urging the Indian government and even governments in other countries to allow them to return to their campuses. Some are awaiting clarity on the visa policies, some are waiting for their visas to be issued, while others are unable to get flights or vaccinations.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) assured students and stakeholders that it has been following up with these governments and others on a regular basis for solutions.
Arindam Bagchi, the MEA spokesperson, said that this has been taken up at various levels and on different platforms. “Lifting travel bans is going to be the key towards economic recovery for all countries. Some positive steps have been taken in this direction of easing restrictions.”
Bagchi expressed hope that more countries will speed up the process of restarting travel from India.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan also addressed this issue in Parliament on July 22.
He said that the Indian Missions and High Commissions in various countries have been “actively taking up these issues with the respective governments and have been impressing upon those governments to ease the travel restrictions.”
This issue has been raised at a high level with many nations. As a result, Indian students are being allowed gradually to travel to many countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Georgia. More countries are expected to open up when the situation improves further.