JAB (Joint Admission Board) of IITs has decided that students from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Singapore, the UAE and Ethiopia will be allowed to directly appear for the JEE (advanced) test, skipping the JEE (main) that Indian students have to take.
"The idea has been approved in-principle. Each IITwill also ratify it and the IIT council will approve it next week," an official said. This was being done to showcase India's soft power. In any case, he said, foreign students would not eat into the seats meant for Indians.
The principle reason for this is to make it into the list of top educational institutes. "In all international rankings one of the key parameters is international students and IITs lose out in a big way despite scoring well on other parameters," another official said.
"Foreign nationals will be given seats under supernumerary category," he said. Pakistan has been left out due to home ministry's objection.
An official said "The cost of admission will be recovered from the foreign student and the government will not bear any expense on account of foreign students. They will be given the same facilities as Indian students. "