The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that there can be an early solution to the India-UK travel restrictions row.
Talking to reporters MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said “We took it up with UK authorities at various levels but without success, that’s why October 4 onwards we have applied reciprocal measures for all UK nationals arriving in India, so that’s in effect, discussions are ongoing, nonetheless, we remain hopeful that some solution may emerge.”
India has taken reciprocal action against the UK’s new international COVID-19 travel rules which India has termed ‘discriminatory’.
UK new travel rules make it mandatory for a 10-day quarantine and RT-PCR test even for fully vaccinated Indians traveling to the UK. Enraged by the move, India in retaliation has imposed reciprocal measures for UK citizens travelling to India since October 4.
MEA spokesperson further said, “I don’t want to get into details what leverage they (UK) have but we are hopeful some solution may emerge meanwhile since we haven’t reached solution reciprocity in place.”
Interestingly, UK had approved Covishield for the incoming travellers list but despite that restrictions were imposed on Indian travellers. Earlier, Britain also alluded that it had no problem with the formulation of Covishield but it has doubts about Covaxin.
India and UK are engaged at multiple levels to hammer out a solution soon.
A British High Commission spokesperson said, “The UK is continuing to work on expanding the policy to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach. We are continuing to engage with the Government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India.”
“The UK is open to travel and we are already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students. Over 62,500 student visas have been issued in the year ending June 2021, which is an increase of almost 30 per cent as compared to the previous year. We want to make the process of travelling as easy as possible.”