India on Thursday said it was concerned over the decision of the US to withdraw visas from foreign students whose courses moved fully online as it may lead to return of a large number of Indian students studying in that country.
Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla raised the issue with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale during an online meeting on Tuesday.
In a move that is expected to adversely impact hundreds of thousands of Indian students, the US immigration authority has announced that foreign students will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only classes in this fall semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are concerned over the possibility that it may lead to return of large number of Indian students studying in the US. We have conveyed our concerns to the US side. The issue was raised by the foreign secretary during the foreign office consultation on July 7,” Srivastava said at an online media briefing.
He said India conveyed to the US that there is a need to keep in mind the role of educational exchanges and people-to-people relations between the two countries as they played a key role in development of the overall ties.
“The US side has noted our concerns in this regard,” he said.
According to a recent report, around 1.94 lakh Indian students were enrolled in various academic institutions of the US in January this year.