The Chronicle

India’s plea for uni help

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INDIA’S foreign minister has urged Australia to ease Covid-19 travel restrictio­ns for thousands of students who have been unable to get into the country since the pandemic started 18 months ago.

India sends tens of thousands of students to universiti­es worldwide, and Australia is among the key destinatio­ns.

Foreign Minister Subrahmany­am Jaishankar said he raised the issue “in some detail” with his Australian counterpar­t Marise Payne alongside talks between defence ministers from both countries dominated by the situation in Afghanista­n.

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

“Many of them would like to be at the institutio­ns where they want to study.”

He said students were “a very high priority” for his government, which had faced similar hurdles with the US and Canada.

University education is a multibilli­on-dollar industry and Australia is one of several countries to have aggressive­ly campaigned to attract Indian students.

“I am one of the most enthusiast­ic proponents of welcoming back our much-loved Indian students back to the Australian education system as soon as it is possible for us,” Ms Payne said.

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