In a recent revelation, the Indian government has disclosed a total of 403 incidents of Indian students ‘ deaths abroad since 2018, raising serious questions about the safety and security of students pursuing education beyond borders. This unsettling data encompasses a range of reasons, including natural causes, accidents, and medical conditions.
CANADA TAKES THE LEAD
Canada emerges as a hotspot for these tragic incidents, with a staggering 91 reported cases. The United Kingdom follows closely with 48 cases. The disclosure was made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in response to concerns raised about the safety of Indian students abroad.
PRIORITIZING STUDENT WELFARE
Jaishankar emphasized that the welfare of Indian students overseas is a top priority for the government. Despite the aspirations and dreams that drive Indian students to seek academic excellence and global exposure, unfortunate circumstances sometimes lead to untimely and heartbreaking deaths.
The recent case of 19-year-old Shreyas Reddy Benigeri in Ohio brings the spotlight back on the security and safety concerns faced by Indian students around campuses.
SWIFT RESPONSES FROM INDIAN MISSIONS
Assuring prompt action, Jaishankar stated, “Indian missions/posts abroad respond to any issues faced by Indian students on a priority basis.” This commitment reflects the government’s determination to address challenges and provide support to students facing difficulties abroad.
COUNTRY-WISE BREAKDOWN: A DISTURBING PATTERN
Jaishankar provided a detailed breakdown of the deaths, revealing a disturbing pattern across countries. Apart from Canada and the UK, the data shows 40 deaths in Russia, 36 in the US, 35 in Australia, 21 in Ukraine, and 20 in Germany. The numbers prompt a closer examination of safety measures in place for Indian students across various nations.
CONDEMNING TERRORISM AND ADVOCATING PEACE
Shifting focus, Jaishankar addressed India’s stance on the October 7 terror attacks on Israel and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. He conveyed India’s condemnation of the attacks and emphasized the need for restraint and de-escalation. The minister stressed the importance of a peaceful resolution through dialogue and diplomacy.
NEIGHBOURHOOD FIRST POLICY
In a separate response, Minister of State for External Affairs RajKumar Ranjan Singh reiterated India’s ‘Neighbourhood First policy.’ This policy continues to guide India’s approach in managing relations with countries in its immediate neighbourhood, underscoring the significance of fostering strong ties with neighboring nations.
In the academic year 2022, a record-breaking 750,000 Indian students embarked on an international academic journey, marking the highest-ever number of Indian students studying abroad in a single year. This massive surge reflects the growing aspirations of Indian youth for global education experiences.