China said on Thursday that "progress" has been made in facilitating the return of thousands of Indian students stranded back home due to Beijing's Covid visa bans and efforts were on for "early return" of the first batch.
Premier Li Keqiang while addressing the Global Business Leaders virtually on Tuesday promised to relax restrictions on international travel in an orderly way, including facilitation of the return of thousands of stranded foreign students to re-join Chinese colleges.
All international students may return to China to continue their studies should they so wish, and outbound commerce and trade activities and cross-border travel for labour services will be advanced in an orderly fashion, Li said.
Asked when China will permit over 23,000 Indian students to return to re-join their colleges in the light of Li's assurances, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here on Thursday "we have been working intensively for the return of foreign students to China".
"Some foreign students have already returned to China to continue their studies," he said.
"As for the return of Indian students, as we have said before, the relevant departments in China and India have been in contact and made progress on this," he said, without providing the details.
"The responsible departments in both countries will stay in close communication and work for the early return of the first batch of Indian students", he said.
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 stranded students from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Russia and several other countries began arriving on chartered flights in the recent few weeks.
China is also permitting flights from different countries but not yet from India. Reportedly, the two countries are in talks to restore limited flights between the two countries.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)