Data presented by Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan in the Rajya Sabha said that at least 403 Indian students have died abroad since 2018 from reasons varying from natural causes to accidents and acts of violence.
According to data submitted by the ministry, Canada, which witnessed the highest number of deaths, reported that 91 Indian students lost their lives since 2018, followed by the United Kingdom (48), Russia (40), the United States (36), Australia (35), Ukraine (21), Germany (20), Cyprus (14), Italy (10) and the Philippines (10).
Just in July 2023, two Indian students, 24-year-old Gurvinder Nath and 23-year-old Polukonda Lenin Naga Kumar, died in seperate incidents in Canada. Other instances include the case of 21-year-old Kartik Vasudev, who was shot dead in 2022.
MoS Muraleedharan emphaised in the Central government's commitment to the safety of Indian students abroad and said that the heads of Indian missions abroad and other senior officials regularly visit college and university campuses to interact with Indian students.
"The safety and security of Indian students abroad is one of the foremost priorities for the Government of India...In case there is any untoward incident, it is immediately taken up with the concerned authorities of the host country to ensure that the incident is properly investigated and the perpetrators are punished, he added.
In response to queries on the issue during the MEA's weekly press briefing, Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "Canada does happen to numerically be the highest, but I would urge that they be looked at in relation to the total number of Indian students in that country.
"If there are individual incidents where there has been foul play...our Consulates do reach out to the families. We also take it up with the local authorities or what for the prosecution or other investigation that they are pursuing," Bagchi added.