A lonely woman wearing a protective face mask walks over an unusually quiet bridge in the city center as the state of Victoria tries to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on July 16, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia . REUTERS FILE PHOTO

NEW DELHI – India’s Foreign Minister called on Australia on Saturday to relax coronavirus travel restrictions for thousands of students who have not been able to enter the country since the pandemic began 18 months ago.

India is sending tens of thousands of students to top international universities around the world, with Australia one of the top destinations.

Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he had the issue with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne alongside talks between defense ministers of both countries, which are dominated by Afghanistan , “Addressed in detail”.

“We have heard a lot from the students and I think their frustrations and feelings are completely understandable,” Jaishankar told reporters.

“Many of them would like to join the institutions be where they want to study, “added students had” a very high priority “for his government, which is also with the US and K. anada is struggling.

“We also have some problems with some other countries. We initially had with the US, we still have some problems with Canada, “he added.

And videos of Indian medical students enrolled in China recently went viral begging the government to return them to their universities to help.

Higher education is now a multi-billion dollar industry and Australia is one of several countries that have aggressively campaigned to attract Indian students.

“I am one of the most enthusiastic advocates, to welcome our beloved Indian students back to the Australian education system as soon as possible, “Payne said at a press conference next to Jaishankar.

” The Covid restrictions have had an impact on travel to and from Australia, not just the students, that you raised, but on the Australians themselves, “she said.

However, Payne stressed that a higher vaccination rate for Australians is necessary in order to” have confidence in us to begin a kind of reopening ”that will allow the students to return.

“ I look forward to being one of the people at the airport who greet the first arrivals of Indian students coming back. ”

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