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China opens up its borders but no direct flights, medical students back in India want Centre's help to return

The association has written to the Ministry of External Affairs with the request

China opens up its borders but no direct flights, medical students back in India want Centres help to return
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After two Covid-hit years, China has opened its borders to Indian students pursuing higher education courses in that country with several universities issuing NOCs for a return to campus.

But the students and their parents say they are struggling to find ways to return in the absence of direct flights and want the Centre to arrange chartered flights.

The association has written to the Ministry of External Affairs with the request. "Our email requests have not yielded any response. Even if it is not completely for free, the Government of India can at least offer chartered flights at discounted rates so that these students are able to reach China," said Mohammed Sageer, joint secretary, FMGPA

According to official estimates, there are about 20,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine, who have not been able to attend classes in person due to strict Covid travel restrictions in China.

Last month, after the Centre's intervention, the Chinese government announced the reopening of borders for Indian students and plans to issue student visas.

India had earlier submitted a list of several hundred students after China sought the names of those wanting to return immediately to pursue their studies.

According to student representatives, 12 out of 45 Chinese universities with international students have issued NOCs allowing students to return while others have started the process.

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