China on Tuesday said it has started the process for the return of Indian students stuck back home due to the COVID-19 visa restrictions here and the first batch may arrive soon, raising hopes for the thousands of students waiting to re-join their colleges in this country.
"We are working intensively for the return of foreign students to China and this process for Indian student's return has begun," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here when asked about social media posts by some Chinese diplomats about opening of a new visa policy for all the foreign students soon.
"We believe we will see the return of the first batch of Indian students very soon and we will continue to pursue it with relevant work while ensuring the safety against COVID," Wang said.
Asked at what stage is the process of the list provided by the Indian Embassy here about the Indian students wanting to return, he said the relevant information will be released soon. China is currently processing the list of hundreds of Indian students wanting to return to the country to re-join their colleges.
Over 23,000 Indian students, mostly studying medicine, are reportedly stuck back home due to COVID visa restrictions.
India has submitted a list of several hundred students after China sought the names of those wanting to return immediately to pursue their studies.
Some students from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia and several other countries arrived on chartered flights in the recent weeks.
China is also permitting flights from different countries but yet to work out opening of flights between the two countries. The flights between India and China which were halted at the height of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago remain suspended.
Officials say the two countries are in talks to restore limited flights.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)