Indian Medical Students who fled Ukraine Face Uncertain Future

A war-torn Ukraine sent almost 18,000 students back to India, but they did so with an unstable and unclear future.

Several Indian students are still seeking options to finish their medical degrees domestically.

Kharkiv National Medical University, which previously housed thousands of Indian students, is now covered with debris.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the students were obliged to leave their studies unfinished and return to India.

With the aid of ‘Operation Ganga’, the Indian government was able to safely bring back nearly 18,000 Indian students.

Nevertheless, the bulk of these students returned to India with a hazy and precarious future. Many are still trying to figure out how to finish their medical degrees in India and the majority have been left on their own.

When the conflict started, Sonia Lumba’s mother was a third-year student in Kharkiv when she was rescued by the Indian government.

Her daughter’s medical career has been in peril since she departed Ukraine, making her family one of the few to even contact the Supreme Court.

She said: “Now, I wonder why they were even rescued. It would have been better if they hadn’t been.

“The Supreme Court has given us a date of March 15, but the case has been lying in cold files and no committee was formed.

“Even the government could not facilitate the students to join here to complete their medical degree.”

Sonia said: “I know that many students who were doing their final year have gone back to Ukraine but the situation there is extremely bad.

“There is a power cut, no supplies and most students are living outside at a distance away from the universities.”

According to a student from Haryana, several of his colleagues and other students have moved to other countries including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia to continue their education since they have no future in India.

Kuldeep Bhukar, a third-year student who was studying in Dnipro, said:

“Some had initially gone back to Ukraine via Poland and Moldova.

“They are living at the borders of these countries and somehow managing to attend online classes.”

He claimed that because he is taking online classes, the students are unsure of their validity for the completion of their medical degree.

Many medical students returning from Ukraine have stopped their previous courses midway through and are currently studying in India for the NEET PG exam.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) permitted Indian medical students in their final year to do their required internship in 2023.

The NMC allowed the aforementioned group of students to take the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination as a “one-time measure” but stipulated that after passing, they would have to complete two years of Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship rather than the usual one-year in order to be eligible for registration as medical professionals.