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India cautions 'reciprocal measures' if UK refuses to recognise Covishield

India cautions reciprocal measures if UK refuses to recognise  Covishield

New Delhi: If the British government refuses to recognise the Indian Covid-19 vaccination Covishield, India may retaliate with the same discriminatory rules for UK people, officials warned on Tuesday.

The issue was flagged during the Monday meeting in Washington DC between Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Truss has informed India that the UK government will rethink its policy against Covishield in a few days. If things continue as they are, India will be forced to apply the same discriminatory protocols for their citizens, a top source in the External Affairs Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the non-recognition of the Covishield vaccine has harmed Indians, particularly students visiting the United Kingdom.

When speaking to the media on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla claimed that not recognising Covishield was a discriminatory policy . "it impacts our citizens travelling to the UK. The EAM has raised the issue strongly with the new UK foreign secretary. I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue will be resolved," he said.

Approximately five million doses of Covishield, a licenced vaccination from the UK manufacturer, have been supplied at the request of the UK Government as part of the National Health System.

Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister, said on September 20 that India will resume exporting Covid-19 vaccinations in October as part of the Vaccine Maitri programme.

More than 70 countries have received over 66 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from India as part of the Vaccine Maitri initiative, which began earlier this year. These countries include Bangladesh; Myanmar; Nepal; Bhutan; the Maldives; Mauritius; Sri Lanka; Brazil; Morocco; South Africa; Afghanistan; Mexico; and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Noting that the government's top priority remains the immunisation of its own citizens, he added that the decision to resume vaccine exports was made "in order to fulfil the commitment of India towards COVAX, in line with our motto Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (the world is one family).

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TAGS:India UK Covishield travel policy 
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