The British still seem to be dwelling in a Lalaland. The UK still considers itself the ruler of the world, by which, it can discriminate against entire countries and their people without much cause to account for. However, the world is well past the UK’s colonialism, and India has made the same resoundingly clear to London. The UK’s bizarrely racist vaccine recognition and quarantine policy has infuriated New Delhi, and Indians at large. It not only smacks of a false sense of supremacy but also seeks to discount India’s massive vaccination campaign as being inferior and non-reliable to the Western world.
India Issues Stern Warning to the UK
On Tuesday, India called on the United Kingdom to change a policy requiring visiting Indian nationals to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated, describing it as discriminatory. In the event of the UK failing to bring in the required changes, India assured London it will not shy away from taking “reciprocal measures” against it. The issue was raised by external affairs minister S Jaishankar during a meeting with his British counterpart Liz Truss on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York late on Monday.
Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla reminded the ignoramuses that are in the UK that Covishield is a licensed product of a UK company that is manufactured in India. Furthermore, the Indian foreign secretary also jogged up the Brits’ memory and reminded them that five million doses of the vaccine have even been supplied to Britain by India at the request of the UK government and used by the National Health Service (NHS) for vaccinating Britishers.
In the backdrop of the same, Shringla added, “Therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and does impact on those of our citizens travelling to the UK…The External Affairs Minister has raised the issue strongly with the new UK foreign secretary. I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue will be resolved.”
Pleased to meet new UK Foreign Secretary @trussliz.
Discussed the progress of Roadmap 2030. Appreciated her contribution on the trade side.
Exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.
Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest. pic.twitter.com/pc49NS7zcw
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 21, 2021
What Do the UK’s New Rules Say?
The United Kingdom recently passed a confounding rule stating that Indian travellers who had received both doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) will be considered unvaccinated. To add insult to injury, the rule adds that double vaccinated Indians will have to undergo mandatory hard quarantine for 10 days.
Under the new rules, only people who have got both shots of a double-dose vaccine such as Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or the single shot Janssen vaccine “under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine program overseas” will be considered fully vaccinated. The new rules become operational from October 4.
To whitewash its racism and xenophobia, the British government described the move as an attempt by the UK to change the current “red, amber, green traffic light system” to a single red list of countries and “simplify travel measures” for arrivals from around the world.
Indians Not Buying UK’s Racism
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the Covishield vaccine stated that Covishield and the AstraZeneca vaccine are identical and yet, the western governments not being able to come up with one regulatory quality standard for vaccine trials and travel passports. Poonawalla remarked, “Covishield is identical to AstraZeneca vaccine and data has been submitted to the UK MHRA and EU regulators. I have had personal consultations with regulators in the UK and EU and expect a response shortly. We will ensure vaccines made in India are approved in other countries.”
Not only has the issue of the UK’s blatant vaccine racism brought together India’s opposition but has also stirred up a furore on social media. India Twitterati slammed the United Kingdom left, right and centre for discriminating against fully vaccinated Indians. Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter and even announced that he had cancelled several of his events in the UK due to the offensive rule.
The UK Not the First to Discriminate Against Vaccinated Indians
As reported by TFI, the EU in June had denied vaccine passports to those inoculated with Covishield – and home-grown Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Miffed by the discriminatory behaviour of the top European body, the government categorically stated that it will not recognize the EU’s digital Covid certificate until it recognizes Indian vaccines Covishield and Covaxin in the certificate.
Within 24 hours of showing its might and issuing a stern warning to the EU that New Delhi will put its travelling citizens in mandatory quarantine if they touchdown in India, the EU nations surrendered before the Modi government.
The UK will suffer a similar fate, and it will have nobody but itself to blame for the humiliation caused to it. It simply defies all logic to not recognise Indians jabbed with Covishield as fully vaccinated and subject them to an unfair quarantine mandate, especially when India has supplied millions of Covishield doses to the UK to inoculate its population. India is in no mood to let an entitled western world walk all over it and has made it clear that all such discriminatory policies will have dire consequences.