Uzaif Rabbani is spending his days in a bunker in Ukraine's Kharkiv amid a fierce Russian offensive, hoping for evacuation, but as the fourth-year medical student waits, he like many from India, is worried if he will ever be able to complete his education.
However, government officials said a meeting will soon be held to discuss the issue with all stakeholders, keeping in view the extraordinary situation in Ukraine. The matter will be looked into "sympathetically", they said.
Rabbani's situation is shared by many Indian students enrolled in medical courses in institutes in the war-torn country.
"I have to complete four years to get my medical degree. Once I am evacuated, I will have to think of what happens next. I hope the government allows a special provision to migrate to any Indian college and continue my education there," Rabbani told PTI over phone from Kharkiv, where a student from Karnataka was killed in shelling on Tuesday morning.
Though his daughter is back home from Ukraine, Nidhi Yadav's father worries whether she will be able to resume her studies in Kiev.
"I don't know what will happen next. I took a huge loan to send her to Ukraine in hope that she will become a doctor, but now things have worsened. There is no clarity on whether the situation will return to normal, whether she will be able to resume her education, will she have to explore other options here," the father of the first-year medical student said.
The new rules of the Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate regulations state that MBBS aspirants can take up to 10 years to complete the programme.
They also state that besides the minimum course work tenure of 4.5 years, candidates need to intern for two years, including 12 months in the foreign medical institute where they are studying and another year of supervised internship in India.
The MBBS programme in Ukraine lasts for six years, and being much affordable in comparison to that in private medical colleges in India, it is a popular choice among Indian students.
"As of now, there are no norms and regulations under the National Medical Commission to accommodate medical students, who were studying abroad and had to return to India midway, in Indian medical colleges in between an academic session," a health ministry official told PTI, on the condition of anonymity.
"However, keeping in view such extraordinary situations, the Indian government will look into the matter sympathetically. A meeting to discuss this issue with all stakeholders is likely to take place soon," he said.
Sahil, a medical student at the Poltava State Medical University in Ukraine, is one of those who has returned after spending four years there.
"Getting out of a war zone was the first thing on my mind but what happens next? I hope the government gives us some clarity on this and our years of effort and money doesn't go waste," he said.
Depleting food stock and long queues for water are adding to the trauma of stranded Indian students in the war-hit nation, while they await evacuation amid reports of some being roughed up by security personnel and spending freezing nights out in the open.
As Indian and Ukrainian authorities on Monday described the situation as "complex" and "very difficult" in terms of evacuation of people, the students, joined by their parents, appealed to the Indian government to expedite efforts to evacuate them.
Russia launched its attack on Ukraine last Thursday.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, it said a total of 1,396 Indians were brought back home in six flights as part of the evacuation mission and the total number of Indians who have left Ukraine since India issued the first advisory earlier this month is around 8,000.
An estimated 20,000 Indian nationals, mainly medical students, reside in Ukraine.