Wednesday, June 16, 2021

China silent on visa to Indians who have met the requirements laid down by the Chinese side

Chinese authorities have not given any response so far on the visa facilitation to the Indians who have been inoculated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, despite announcements made by its Embassy in New Delhi on 15th March in this regard.

Around 300 Indians who live and work in China but are currently in their home country have requested the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi to issue them visas to return after they managed to get Chinese vaccines from a third country and are fulfilling other requirements. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin said in Beijing, China provides convenience to incoming foreigners who have received Chinese vaccines but did not give details. He suggested contacting the Chinese Embassy and consulates in India. Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, however, has not responded so far to a query by Prasar Bharati, Beijing on this matter. Stranded Indians told Prasar Bharati, Beijing that China has not facilitated visas to those Indians also who are staying in other countries and waiting for Chinese visas to return.

Indian nationals have been unable to travel back to resume their work or studies since November last year, even though Chinese citizens are able to travel to India despite the absence of direct connectivity. The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday that India is in touch with the Chinese side in order to seek an early resumption of travel by Indian citizens to China, especially for those who work or study there. Its spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, essential two-way travel should be facilitated, especially keeping in view the fact that Chinese nationals are able to travel to India. Since these Indian nationals have apparently met the requirements laid down by the Chinese side, Mr Bagchi hoped that the Chinese Embassy would be able to issue them visas soon.

China-made vaccines are not yet approved in India. Also, China has not yet specified its stand on acknowledging the WHO-approved vaccines for cross-border travels. Faced with a desperate situation of losing their jobs in China and emotional trauma of staying away from their families for around one and half year, the group of Indians, however, found a way out. They travelled to countries like Nepal, UAE, and Maldives where Chinese vaccines are available and stayed there to get two doses of the vaccine.

After returning to India, the group sent representations to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, with a request to issue visas as they had complied with the vaccine criteria and other requirements. They have assured Chinese authorities of complying with all necessary pandemic-prevention rules, testing and quarantine procedures once they arrive in China. Around 20000 Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities but stranded in their home country have also not been allowed to return to China because of the restrictions imposed on international travel related to the Covid-19 pandemic. A prominent Chinese expert, Dr. Huiyao Wang from Centre for China and Globalization told Prasar Bharati, Beijing that Indian Students may be allowed to return. That’s something China can do. This is taking a toll on China’s image as well, he said.

– Anshuman Mishra, Beijing

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