India urges foreign governments to ease travel restrictions for Indians as COVID-19 situation improves

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said it has been taking up with foreign governments the issue of easing travel restrictions for Indians in view of an improvement in the coronavirus situation in the country.

Indian students studying in institutions in China, Italy and several other countries have been stuck here in view of the travel restrictions.

“With the improvement in the Covid situation in India, we have been taking up with foreign countries the issue of easing travel restrictions for Indians. We believe that this is an important element towards economic recovery,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

“There have been some positive steps in this direction and we would hope that more countries take steps to normalise the movement of people from India,” he added.

Asked about the supply of COVID-19 vaccines by the United States to India, Bagchi said the domestic vaccination programme has been continuing at a rapid pace and that New Delhi has been in touch with its partners on the possibility of import of vaccines.

To a question on when the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to recognise Covaxin, he said the producer of the vaccine, Bharat Biotech Limited, has submitted the request along with all necessary documentation to the global body earlier this month.

Bagchi said more than half of the member states of the European Union (EU) have recognised Covishield, the vaccine manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

Asked about reports on a visit to India by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken next week, the MEA spokesperson said details will be shared when updates on it are available.

He also said India has received an invitation for the swearing-in ceremony of Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi. The ceremony is scheduled for August 5.

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