New Delhi: Union foreign minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that detailed discussions were held between him and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne regarding when Indian students can return to Australia for their higher studies at Australian universities.
The Australian foreign minister said that it is following the modelling suggested by Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and after the Australian government vaccinates its citizens to a certain level it can take a decision on reopening in a manner that will allow foreign students to return to Australian campuses where they have enrolled for studies.
“Our response in Australia has been based on research and modelling suggested by the Doherty Institute and that gave us a four-phase pathway in terms of our response to Covid and our progression through and out of the restrictions in place. We are on our way to vaccinating Australians to a level which will give us the confidence to reopen in a manner that will enable students to return in phase 3 and phase 4. There is a shared desire on both sides to see that travel resumes,” Payne said at the press conference held after the India-Australia 2+2 ministerial meeting.
Jaishankar said the problems with students returning to their universities or joining universities in courses they have taken admission in are not limited to Australia but with the US and Canada as well. He said that problems have been sorted out to some extent with the American authorities but some problems remain to be solved with regard to the Canadian government. He further added that these issues which concern higher education in foreign countries are being taken on high priority by the Centre.
“The frustrations felt by students and their parents are completely understandable. Students would like to be in the institutions where they were studying or were already studying. We discussed it in some detail today. Minister Payne also told me what Australia thinks about this situation,” Jaishankar said.
Australian foreign minister Payne also said that she is one of the ‘most enthusiastic proponents of welcoming our much-loved Indian students’ back to Australia. “We are ready to welcome back Indian students as soon as possible. The diaspora is present and very much active where I live and where I work (Western Sydney). We miss their engagements sincerely,” Payne said.
Payne also said that there are over 60,000 students in Australia. “I do definitely understand the desire that students have for on-campus and in-country experience. The Covid-19 restrictions have impacted travel to and from Australia, even for Australians themselves. Even ministers like us have to comply with quarantine restrictions,” Payne said. (News source: Hindustantimes.com)