India favours constructive solution to on-going discussions between US universities on appropriate vaccines: MEA

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 17, 2021

Wants the issue of vaccine passports to be linked to vaccine equity

Indian students are engaged in multiple discussions with US universities on the Covid-19 vaccines acceptable to them as there is no uniformity in their demands but the Indian government is firmly standing behind the students and wants the issue to be resolved soon, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said.

The MEA is also of the view that the issue of vaccine passports, being debated in many countries, has to be linked with vaccine equity, Bagchi added at a media briefing.

Responding to problems being faced by Indian students due to US universities not accepting Covaxin or even Covishield vaccines but instead insisting on those manufactured by Pfizer, J&J or Moderna, the Spokesperson said the US government had clarified that vaccinations were not a mandatory requirement for students to travel. Also there was no uniformity in the requirements of the universities.

Also read: India opposes vaccine passport at G7 meet

“I also understand that there are multiple conversations going on between our students and the universities. We would obviously support our students. I think everyone concerned is interested in ensuring that the students are able to reach the universities and undertake regular classes and we hope that a constructive solution is found,” he said.

Students already vaccinated with one dose of Covishield or Covaxin are especially in a spot as it may not be advisable to mix different kinds of vaccines.

On Japan’s decision to issue vaccine passports to those who have got Covid-19 vaccines and the on-going debate in the US and the European Union on its use to quickly identify vaccinated people, Bagchi said that it needed to be linked to vaccine equity. “Given that many developing nations have not been able to vaccinate a large percentage of their population, we will favour a larger discussion on vaccine passports with greater focus on vaccine equity,” he said.

The Spokesperson added that India was not given any timelines yet by the US on its intended vaccine supplies to the country.

On Mehul Choksi

Answering questions on fugitive diamond merchant Mehul Choksi who was caught by authorities in Dominica, Bagchi said that he continued to be in Dominica’s custody. “Legal proceedings are underway.

“The government of India is actively engaged with the Dominican government to seek early deportation or handing over of Mehul Choksi to face justice in our country. The criminal charges that Choksi faces in India and the facts related to his continued Indian citizenship have been suitably brought to the attention of the authorities in Dominica,” he said.

Published on June 17, 2021

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