An announcement was made by a number of China’s overseas missions, including its embassy in New Delhi saying that they will start “facilitating” the travellers, on the condition that they have taken “Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines”.
Indians have been barred from travelling to China since November last year, when China suspended valid visas and residents permits not just for travellers from India but for most of the countries citing COVID-19 concerns.
The ban has been a particular concern for many Indian students enrolled in Chinese Universities, who have been unable to return to China. There are at least 23,000 Indians studying in China, most in medical colleges.
However, the announcement made on March 15 will bring little relief for them as Chinese-made vaccines are not available in India. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday China “stands ready to advance mutual recognition of vaccines with other countries”, but that process is expected to take time.
As of now, the limited easing of the travel ban will only apply to travellers who have taken Chinese vaccines. A notice from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said, “For the purpose of resuming people-to-people exchanges in an orderly manner, starting from 15 March, 2021, the Chinese Embassies and Consulates in India will provide the persons having taken Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine and holding the Certificates of Vaccination with the following facilitating measures”, including for those going to China for “employment contracts, work resumption and other relevant activities” and family members of Chinese nationals, provided they have taken Chinese vaccines. The announcement did not say if it would apply to students.