For last more than one year-and-a-half, China has banned Indians travelling back to China. As a result, many students, businesspersons and family members are stranded in India. The Indian Ambassador has opened dialogue with China on this issue, as this is purely a humanitarian matter, nothing as complex as a bilateral diplomatic issue.
Though it has its differences with China, India has strived to keep the commercial and trade relationships going, for example, issuing visas to Chinese businessmen to visit India. This approach by China is not correct.
Around 23,000 Indian students were studying medicine in Chinese universities, who are now helpless and unable to return to their course in China. The online programmes organised by Chinese universities will not be sufficient to lay the foundation for the subjects, especially the hands-on clinics.
Also, the students have been forced to download apps that are banned in India. India has banned around 250 Chinese apps over the insulate border stand-off. To continue with their courses, the students are alleging that they are being pressurised to download banned Chinese apps like WeChat, Ding Talk, Superstar and a video chat app. For the time being, the students, who are members of the Indian Students in China (ISC), have been asked to ingress the Chinese app through VPN to manage their class.
The students pleading have gone unheard by the Chinese authority. Under the banner of ISC, around 3,000 students sent a letter via email to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, further pleading that they will follow all the required protocols like quarantine period, getting vaccinated and testing etc.
It's not only Indians who are barred from travelling to China. Even Chinese nationals are being denied visas on grounds of not meeting the health code required for boarding flights to China. The ban is also imposed on the family members who are staying as split families for the last one-and-a-half years. Some couldn't visit their ailing relatives, while some families are travelling to third countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and the UAE to meet each other.
India has started issuing visas to Chinese nationals to visit their family members in India, but it is of no use for them as China is not allowing them entry by denying visas to return back to the country.
Things were unlikely to move forward till the celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) completing 100 years were completed. But they are over now and yet China is not issuing visas. On the other hand, India has started issuance of visas to Chinese businessmen in order to permit their travel to India.
China with its complacent behaviour of not allowing the issuance of visas to Indians is in a way barring them to enter the country. This approach of not issuing visas should be taken on humanitarian ground, but China seems to be blindfolded, without recognising the sufferings of the students and the professionals who are stuck in India from November last year.
A more stabilised and diplomatic approach will benefit both the countries and will further ease the tension. Travellers are willing to go for tests, vaccination, and 21-day quarantine for a positive response from China for allowing them to travel.
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