Published: 03rd October 2022
Delays due to logistical issues: Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Afghan students waiting for Indian visas
Meanwhile, a few Afghan students, a few days back, had protested in front of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, seeking the attention of Indian authorities to facilitate their return
The fate of nearly 2,500 Afghan students, who are enrolled across various universities in India, hangs in limbo as they haven't been able to return for want of visas. These students returned to Afghanistan after the outbreak of the pandemic and haven't been able to return.
Responding to when and whether these students will be facilitated for their return, External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, said the delay was due to logistical issues as the Indian Embassy in Kabul had to be shut last year when the Taliban-led government took over in August 2021. "No one can doubt India's feelings for Afghans. We had a situation where we had to pull out our embassy, we did not even have a presence on the ground to verify what is what. At that time there was a lot of uncertainty about whose passport was whose, whose visa was whose..these are real issues out there,'' said Dr S Jaishankar, while speaking to students in a session titled Rising India and the World, in Vadodara.
The Minister responded to a query made by an Afghan student.
Dr Jaishankar also highlighted the fact that India extended support to Afghanistan in the form of 50,000 mt of wheat, medicines and vaccines. "I know it is a difficult task, every country has to have a system with which they have faith and wait for that level of trust and efficiency to come out,'' he added.
When the Taliban-led government took over, India, revoked all pre-existing visa issues too Afghan citizens and announced an emergency e-visa scheme. Indian officials were inundated with requests but these emergency visas could only be extended to around 300 people most of whom were minority Hindus and Sikhs feeling the country.
Meanwhile, a few Afghan students, a few days back, had protested in front of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, seeking the attention of Indian authorities to facilitate their return. Afghan students have also been using social media (#IssueVisaToAfghanStudents) to highlight their plea and tagging Prime Minister Modi and Dr Jaishankar with the hope of a quick redressal to their demand.