India will reciprocate the same discriminatory protocols for the UK nationals if the British government fails to recognize the Indian Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, the sources said on Tuesday.
The non-recognition of the Covishield vaccine has impacted the Indians, especially students travelling to the UK.
This issue was flagged during the meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Monday in Washington DC.
Truss has assured India that the UK government will review its policy against Covishield in a day or two. If the situation remains the same, India will be forced to apply the same discriminatory protocols for their citizens, a top source in the External Affairs Ministry said.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla while addressing the media on Tuesday asserted that non-recognition of Covishield was a discriminating policy and “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.”
The vaccine, Covishield, is a licensed product of the UK manufacturer and about five million doses have been supplied at the request of the UK Government as part of the National Health System.
On September 20, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that India will resume the export of Covid-19 vaccines under Vaccine Maitri initiative in October.
Noting that the vaccination of its own citizens remains the top most priority of the government, he also said that the decision to resume vaccine exports has been taken “in order to fulfil the commitment of India towards COVAX, in line with our motto Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family.
As part of the Vaccine Maitri initiative earlier this year, India had supplied over 66 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to more than 70 countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, Afghanistan, Mexico, DR Congo, Nigeria and the UK.