The India Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has referred visa extension requests of Afghanistan students to the Union Home Ministry, its president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said on Tuesday, adding that students stranded in the neighbouring country, who have got admission in Indian institutions, can continue attending classes virtually. With the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan, many students from the neighbouring nation have requested for extension of their visas in India as they are not willing to go back to their homeland.
“Many Afghan students have requested us for extension of their visa in wake of change of regime in their native country. We have referred their request to the Union Home Ministry, which is the nodal ministry to take call on this issue,” Sahasrabuddhe said. When asked whether there were any plans to stop scholarships to students from Afghanistan, Sahasrabuddhe categorically said there are no plans to stop it.
“As far as scholarships of Afghan students is concerned we have neither any instructions nor any plans to stop it or cut it down,” he said. Talking about students stuck in Afghanistan despite getting admission in India, he said they can continue attending classes virtually. “Those Afghan students who have got admission in Indian institutions but are unable to come here can continue attending classes virtually and reach out for further details. And in case the students don’t attend classes physically in India, rules don’t permit us to give them a stipend as they are not incurring any expenditure,” Sahasrabuddhe said.
He made these remarks on the sidelines of an event to announce the first ever World Buddhist Conference to be held later this year at Nava Nalanda Mahavihara (NNM) in Nalanda in Bihar. In the conference, a cash award of USD 20,000 will be given for Buddhist studies, he said, adding that in run up to the conference various events will be held across the country, including in Dharmshala.
Underlining that Buddhism is an ”essential ingredient of the idea of India” and predominance of India in the idea of Buddhism and predominance of Buddhism in the idea of India has been underscored by the academicians, he said.