Tuesday 1 October 2019 8:10 AM UTC
NEW DELHI Oct 1: India yesterday asked the United Kingdom to protect the rights of its students in the country and ensure that they do not face any visa-related difficulties.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla conveyed this to Glyn Williams, Director General for Borders, Immigration, Citizenship and International Strategy at the United Kingdom Home Office, during delegation-level talks between the two countries.
“We informed them of instances where Indian students faced visa-related issues in Britain,” a Home Ministry official said.
According to sources, both sides discussed several issues of mutual concern related to immigration and citizenship. Kieran Drake — Minister Counsellor, Political and Press at the British High Commission in New Delhi — termed the talks as “productive”.
Last year, India was excluded from a list of nations entitled to Tier 4 overseas student visa relaxations unveiled by the UK Home Office.
Indian student groups in Britain and top-level diplomats objected to the move, with some even saying that excluding the world’s largest democracy from a list that otherwise contains many non-democratic countries amounted to “insulting” India.
The UK government, in its response, linked the move to New Delhi’s refusal to sign a memorandum of understanding on taking back illegal migrants.
Last year, the union cabinet had approved a pact on deportation of illegal Indian immigrants from UK to India and vice-versa. However, at the eleventh hour, India pulled out of the hour without giving any reason for its decision.
According to reports at the time, New Delhi was concerned that a large number of Indian citizens would be deported by Britain without taking “humanitarian considerations” into account if such a pact were to be signed. It was also claimed that India was wary of certain “hazardous” migrants such as Sikh and Kashmiri separatists being returned to the country.
CLICK TO FOLLOW UKMALAYALEE.COM