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India asks Australia to end Covid travel curbs for students | India News


NEW INDIA: India urged Australia on Saturday to ease coronavirus travel restrictions for thousands of students who have been unable to enter the country since the pandemic began 18 months ago.
India sends tens of thousands of students to top international universities around the world, with Australia among the key destinations.
External subjects minister S Jaishankar said he raised the issue “in some detail” with his Australian counterpart Marise payne along with talks between the defense ministers of both Afghanistan-dominated countries.
“We have heard a lot from the students and I think their frustrations, their feelings, are completely understandable.” Jaishankar he told reporters.
“Many of them would like to be in the institutions where they want to study,” adding that students were “a very high priority” for his government, which has also faced obstacles with the United States and Canada.
“We have also had some problems with some other countries. Initially we had with the United States, we still have some problems with Canada,” he added.
India also reached out to Britain before easing travel restrictions.
And videos of Indian medical students enrolled in China recently went viral when they pleaded with the government to help them return to their universities.
College education is now a multi-billion dollar industry and Australia is one of several countries that has waged an aggressive campaign to attract Indian students.
“I am one of the most enthusiastic advocates of welcoming our beloved Indian students to the Australian educational system as soon as possible for us,” Payne said at a press conference alongside Jaishankar.
He added that there are currently around 60,000 Indians studying in Australia.
“Covid restrictions have affected travel to and from Australia, not just the students you’ve raised, but Australians themselves,” he said.
But Payne stressed that higher levels of vaccination of Australians were required to “give us the confidence to start a kind of reopening” that will allow students to return.
“I hope to be one of the people at the airport to welcome the first arrivals of returning Indian students.”

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