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Ensuring Students’ Safety Abroad

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  • 17 Dec, 2023

The Rising Panjab Bureau

In a recent revelation in the Indian Parliament, Union Minister V Muraleedharan presented data indicating that at least 403 Indian students have lost their lives abroad since 2018 due to various reasons, including natural causes and accidents. This concerning statistic has prompted an in-depth examination of the circumstances surrounding these tragic incidents, shedding light on the countries with the highest reported cases and the government's efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of its students studying overseas.

Among the 34 nations cited in the report, Canada emerges as the country with the highest number of reported deaths, accounting for 91 cases. Following closely are the United Kingdom (48), Russia (40), the United States (36), Australia (35), Ukraine (21), Germany (20), Cyprus (14), Italy, and the Philippines (10 each). This distribution raises questions about the factors contributing to these numbers and whether they are reflective of broader trends in international student safety.

Muraleedharan emphasized the Indian government's unwavering commitment to the safety and security of its students studying abroad. He pledged to address individual cases and work towards preventing untoward incidents in the future. Regular visits by heads of mission and senior officials to colleges and universities aim to facilitate direct interaction with Indian students, allowing officials to gauge and respond to their concerns in real time.

"The safety and security of Indian students abroad is one of the foremost priorities for the Government of India," the Minister affirmed, highlighting the proactive measures taken to safeguard the well-being of students pursuing education on foreign shores.

In cases of distress or emergencies, the government offers comprehensive consular assistance to affected students. This includes emergency medical care, boarding, and lodging when needed. The goal is to provide immediate support to students facing difficulties and ensure their welfare is prioritized.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi addressed concerns about the high number of student deaths, acknowledging that the significant number of Indian students studying abroad might contribute to these figures. He assured the public that individual incidents, including instances of foul play, are diligently addressed by consulates, which actively engage with families and collaborate with local authorities to seek justice.

Despite the government's commitment to student safety, challenges persist, prompting questions about whether the existing frameworks are adequate. The rapid increase in the number of Indian students pursuing education abroad necessitates a critical examination of the support mechanisms in place.

As the government continues to navigate these challenges, ongoing efforts to enhance safety protocols, facilitate communication channels, and strengthen consular services are crucial. Addressing concerns about the well-being of Indian students abroad requires a multi-faceted approach, involving collaboration with host countries, educational institutions, and students themselves.

The reported deaths of Indian students abroad since 2018 underscore the complexities and responsibilities associated with ensuring the safety of a growing number of students pursuing international education. The government's commitment, coupled with continuous efforts to improve safety measures, remains paramount in shaping the future experiences of Indian students studying across borders.


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