India News

Govt working to ease overseas travel curbs: Jaishankar

New Delhi, August 12

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said his top priority is to make sure Indians are able to travel abroad with the least number of restrictions and hoped that Covaxin, one the two vaccines being primarily used in India, would get WHO approval by next month.

“As a country whose people look at the world as a global workplace, it is up there in my priority,” Jaishankar said while responding to Tech Mahindra CEO C P Gurnani’s observation about travel impediments at the CII’s virtual annual session on Thursday.

Jaishankar said a lot of talk about travel impediments was “speculation” and “not fact based”. Many countries, including the US, don’t insist on being vaccinated. They want a RT-PCR test done before boarding the plane. “At the moment, it is an India issue. They [the US] are not allowing people who have stayed for a length of time here to go to the US directly. The general practice is testing based rather than vaccine based.”

He also acknowledged the issue about vaccines at some places, saying that Europe started the problem by exempting people only with certain kinds of vaccination from quarantine. “We got Covishield in. Covaxin is still a problem.  Maybe in September, we should get some kind of indication,” he said.

The solution was a vaccination certificate on the lines of the ‘Yellow Fever’ certificates where there was no insistence on a particular type of injection. “I do see it as a challenge. Some countries try to get across their viewpoint that their vaccine is a must to deal with them. There will be a push and pull out there,” the Minister observed.