THE AIFF has confirmed India will return to international football in March with a double-header against Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Both games on March 25 and March 29 will take place in Dubai.
These games will be the team’s first international friendlies since November 2019.
The national team will meet in a camp in Dubai on March 15 according to reports.
India will host Qatar, travel to Bangladesh and host Afghanistan in June for their final three World Cup qualifiers.
They cannot win the group, but can still progress as group ruuners-up.
Qatar is in the group despite being World Cup hosts as the stage also operates as Asian Cup qualifying.
The 2023 edition of the tournament will be hosted by China.
The first stage was also intended as qualification for the AFC Solidarity Cup , but the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Should India qualify for the third round, they will be put into one of two groups of six, with the top two of those groups qualifying for the World Cup.
The two third-placed teams will play a fourth-round tie to advance to an intercontinental play-off which will feature a team from Oceania, a team from South America, and a team from the CONCACAF qualifiers.
No team has yet mathematically confirmed passage to the third round.
Hosts Qatar are the only country to have confirmed their qualification for the tournament so far.
Due to delays in the international calendar, very few countries no longer have a route to qualifying.
Chad, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Burundi, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Indonesia, East Timor, Brunei, Macau and Bahrain are the only FIFA members who have no longer have chances of qualifying.