Indian foreign secretary, Harsh V Shringla said in a press conference on Tuesday that United Kingdom’s stand on the non-recognising Covidshield Covid-19 vaccine is a “discriminating policy” and “impacts our citizens travelling to the UK.”
The foreign secretary also said that India could take “reciprocal actions against the UK” for recognising AstraZeneca but not Covidshield.
Mr Shringla said that the External Affairs Minister 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 at the press conference.
Covishield is an Indian version of the UK’s AstraZeneca and is manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute. Despite being similar to AstraZeneca and being given to millions in Britain, the UK government has still not recognised Covidshield as a legit vaccine.
According to newly released UK government rules, even fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from India need to quarantine for 10 days, as they would be considered unvaccinated. The rules also require Indians vaccinated with Covidshield to undergo a pre-departure PCR test and further tests on landing in the UK.
It has been indicated that Foreign Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar brought up the issues with his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York — where both are attending the United Nations General Assembly. “Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest,” Jaishankar tweeted on Tuesday, post the meeting.
Truss’s tweet after the meeting had no mention of discussing the quarantine issue.