‘Covid testing enough for global travel, not vaccine discrimination’:Jaishankar
Indian External Affairs Minister said this after several countries put a condition that only fully vaccinated people would be allowed to travel
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said that if passengers are tested before and after international travel it should be a good enough measure to check the spread of Covid-19 asserting that the basis of international travel should be Covid-19 tests.
“People who are tested before for international travel and tested on arrival is a good enough basis for travel, but some countries have now introduced the issue of vaccination,” he said while addressing a joint press conference after meeting his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
The EAM was on a three-day visit to Russia. He held discussions with his Russian counterpart on how travellers of their respective countries are not “discriminated against” and how “understandings” regarding the travel of Indians and Russians to each other’s countries can be reached.
Both leaders also reviewed preparations for the bilateral Annual Summit and held a wide ranging discussion on regional issues - Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Libya and the Caucasus; ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific, Jaishankar said in a tweet after the meeting.
Stressing that the Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for India and Russia to strengthen ties and enhance cooperation, Jaishankar said, “We are seeing that today in the production of Sputnik vaccine, I completely agree with my Russian counterpart. I think we have to protect our population and help the world and the two go together that they are part of the same issue.”
Moreover, Lavrov pointed out that Russia is ready for a discussion with India regarding coordinating their possibilities pertaining to citizens vaccinated against Covid-19. “I think that we can reach an agreement here, and it will serve as an example to other states,” he added.
The Russian foreign minister also highlighted that both Russia and India are against politicisation of vaccines, and that he is “confident” the majority of countries will share this approach.
Jaishankar also thanked Russia for the nation’s aid to India during the latter’s fight against the coronavirus crisis. Russia had sent at least 22 tonnes of medical supplies to the country during the peak of the pandemic.
“Despite several changes happening across the planet, both before and during the pandemic, our time-tested and trust-based relationship remains very strong and continues to grow,” the external affairs minister said.
Jaishankar also stated that India is Russia’s “partner in the production of Sputnik-V vaccine” and that this approach is not only good for both the countries, but also for the rest of the world.
Notably, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has joined hands with India pharmaceutical firm ‘Dr Reddy’s’ to manufacture and produce Sputnik-V vaccine in India. The RDIF has also inked collaboration with Stelis Biopharma, Gland Pharma, Virchow Biotech, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, and Morepen Laboratories to produce Covid-19 vaccines in the India.