The students have been unable to return to China due to Covid-19 restrictions

India has highlighted the effect of continued stringent COVID-19 restrictions on the academic careers of thousands of Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

It will continue to urge the Chinese side to adopt a congenial stance in the interest of students to facilitate their return, MEA Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to a question at the weekly media briefing.

"Our embassy in Beijing, our consulates and ministry have been taking up this matter with the relevant authorities in China on numerous occasions, since the restrictions were imposed," Bagchi said.

"We have highlighted the plight of the students and how the continuation of these stringent restrictions are putting the academic careers and education careers of thousands of students in jeopardy," he added.

He pointed out that External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker had personally raised this question with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in September last year.

Stating that India has noted the statements made by a Chinese spokesperson, Bagchi said the Chinese side has not given any categorical response on the return of Indian students.

"We will continue to urge the Chinese side to adopt a congenial stance in the interest of our students and that they facilitate an early return to China so that our students can pursue their studies," he added.

Over question on reports of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's possible visit to India, the MEA spokesperson said, "I don't have any information to share on this, at this moment," Bagchi said.