New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs held discussions with foreign countries including Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, the UK and the USA to streamline the visa appointments for Indian students, informed Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday.
He further said that the countries have agreed to remain engaged in further easing and fast-tracking the process since the flow of students has been mutually beneficial.
"Senior MEA officials dealing with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, UK & USA had constructive discussions with corresponding Heads of Missions/senior diplomats of these countries about streamlining student visas to Indian nationals," Bagchi tweeted.
India raised the issue of students with foreign countries and asked them to expedite and bring clarity in the visa process, sources said.
Earlier in the month, US Charge d'Affaires Patricia Lacina said that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Mission to India issued more student visas in 2021 than ever before and is looking forward to a record-breaking season this year. She said that Indians are the second-largest group of international students in the United States and the US Mission to India continues to prioritize students for visa interviews.
"We have opened tens of thousands of visa appointments and expanded our interview waiver options for students under new visa guidelines," Lacina said.
On the occasion of the Passport Seva Divas on Friday, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the MEA, along with the Central Passport Organization, has been marking this occasion and renewing our commitment to provide passport and passport-related services to citizens of India in a timely, reliable, accessible, transparent and efficient manner.
He said that the Central government is working to roll out e-Passports to make easier international travel and enable protection against identity theft and greater data security.
"The passport services were rendered with the same vigour and enthusiasm even during the testing times of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Ministry rose to the occasion to meet the increased demand for passport services built up due to two and half years of the pandemic, and dealt it swiftly with an impressive monthly average of 9.0 lakhs, with 4.50 lakhs additional applications granted in the last one month, thus setting a record," he said.
He also informed that the Passport Seva System has also been integrated with the DigiLocker system to facilitate a paperless documentation process.
Recognizing the need to continually improve the quality of passport services, the Passport Seva Programme (PSP) will be embarking on PSP V2.0, an improved and upgraded version of P SP V1.0, which would ensure a digital ecosystem among all stakeholders and offer enhanced passport services to citizens, he said. (ANI)