Amid the crisis in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, uncertainty looms over the future of Afghan students who came to India for higher education on scholarships by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
International students worldwide join courses through ICCR at colleges across India. More than 1,000 scholarships are offered to Afghanistan students every year by India as a goodwill gesture to promote education in the country. In Kerala University alone, 15 Afghan students are pursuing various courses and 11 students were expected to join next month, according to Dr Sabu Joseph, Director, Centre for Global Academics, Kerala University.
"Students in Afghanistan are concerned now as they are in terrible conditions even are in doubt whether they will get the visa to come to India for joining the programme," said Joseph.
Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has ramped up its evacuation efforts from the country.
“The main challenge for travel to and from Afghanistan is the operational status of Kabul airport,” said the MEA, which has also set up a helpline for Indian nationals.
"As regards Afghan nationals, our visa services will continue through an e-Emergency visa facility, which has been extended to Afghan citizens. This can be accessed through our e-visa portal at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration. We have already received requests from Afghan Sikh and Hindu community leaders and are in touch with them," the MEA statement added.