India is not considering resumption of tourist visas to Chinese nationals due to the Covid-19 situation there, MEA added

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that it has not heard from the Chinese side on its request to look at the difficulties that students in India are facing for not being able to return to China to resume their studies.

“As regards to the students, yes, this is something that has come up a couple of times. Last month, during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, External Affairs Minister had mentioned that India has taken up the issue with the Chinese government to look at the difficulties that Indian students in India are facing,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in the weekly media briefing.

“But, unfortunately I do not have or have not heard any update on the issue. This is an issue that we are focused on. We haven’t heard anything from the Chinese side on it,” he stated.

Refusing to comment on whether there is a differential treatment meted out to Indian students seeking return to China vis-à-vis of other nationalities, the MEA Spokesperson said “We are concerned about students in India and on that we don’t have any movement yet.”

It may be recalled that China had restricted travel by suspending visa and residence permits from March 27, 2020, in view of the pandemic.

Approximately 20,000 Indian students were enrolled in various courses including clinical medicine courses in different Chinese universities at that time, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had told the Rajya Sabha last month.

Meanwhile, the MEA Spokesperson clarified that the government is not considering resumption of tourist visas owing to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“You are all aware of the COVID-19 situation in Chinese cities like Shanghai and elsewhere. I don’t think it is an opportune moment to discuss resumption of tourist visas or issuance of visas from China,” he said.

“You are also aware that China has suspended issuance of most types of visas to Indian nationals since November 2020,” Bagchi added.
He however clarified that other visas some are being issued.

In a circular issued on April 20 regarding India, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, “Tourist visas issued to nationals of China (People’s Republic) are no longer valid.”