Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Monitoring, Around 2,500 students in Afghanistan continue to wait for any movement from the Indian side to grant them visas to pursue their education in the country.
As the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) took over the over the country in August last year, India suspended all visas. Since then, India has issued only about 300 visas and those have largely been for Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, minorities that have faced persecution.
India restarted its Afghan embassy operations in June, but it’s not full-fledged and has made no difference to the visa waitlist.
“We had a situation where we had to pull out our embassy, we did not even have a presence on the ground to verify what is what. At that time there was lot of uncertainty about whose passport was whose, whose visa was whose…these are real issues out there,” said Jaishankar, speaking at a session on “Rising India and the World” where an Afghan student studying in Gujarat asked the question about the fate of Afghan students seeking Indian visa.
“India’s feelings for Afghan people, nobody can doubt,” Jaishankar added, referring to India’s aid consignments of wheat, medicines and vaccines to Afghanistan despite a “lot of problems”, and asked the students “to wait for [a] level of trust and efficiency” to come up to allow visas to be restarted.
At present, an estimated 14,000 Afghan students are believed to be in India, studying at 73 universities.