New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said international travel should be “made easier” through “mutual recognition of vaccine certificates”.
“We also need to focus on addressing the pandemic economic effects. To that end, international travel should be made easier, through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates,” Modi said at the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by US President Biden in Washington DC.
Modi is on a four-day visit to the US to participate in the first in-person summit of Quad leaders.
He also talked about the Co-WIN app and said over 200 million Indians are now fully vaccinated.
“India is now running the world’s largest vaccination campaign. Recently, we vaccinated about 25 million people on a single day. Our grassroots level healthcare system has delivered over 800 million vaccine dose so far,” he said.
“This has been enabled through the use of our innovative digital platform called Co-WIN. In the spirit of sharing, India has made Co-WIN and many other digital solutions available freely as open-source software,” he added.
Modi’s statement comes after India Tuesday raised the issue with the UK over the latter not recognising Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine as well as the India’s vaccination certification process.
India and the UK are presently holding technical-level talks between the makers of Co-WIN app and Britain’s NHS app administered by the UK’s state-run National Health Service (NHS).
UK not fine with India’s vaccine certificate
Meanwhile, while the UK Wednesday brought Covishield under the list of those vaccines that are recognised by Britain, it continued to question the certification process.
“We’re clear Covishield is not a problem. The UK is open to travel and we’re already seeing a lot of people going from India to the UK, be it tourists, business people or students. We have been having detailed technical discussions regarding certification, with the builders of the CoWIN app and the NHS app, about both apps. They’re happening at a rapid pace, to ensure that both countries mutually recognise the vaccine certificates issued by each other,” said Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India.
The High Commissioner added that 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,” he said.
On Wednesday, India and the UK also held the first India-United Kingdom (UK) Consular Dialogue through video conferencing.
“At this inaugural Consular Dialogue, the two sides discussed ways to further strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two countries as part of the India-UK 2030 roadmap, to facilitate consular access and early resolution of consular grievances including through systematic information sharing, and cooperation on visas, extradition cases and mutual legal assistance,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)