In a power move, India has notified the European Union to accept Indian-made vaccines Covieshield and Covaxin for its "vaccination passport" for Indian nationals who may be travelling to Europe. According to report, the Ministry of External Affairs is set to embark on a reciprocal process of not accepting the EU's vaccine certificate if they don't accept the Covieshield and Covaxin certificates.
The move comes in the wake of EU's apparent disinclination toward accepting the Indian-made vaccines on its vaccination passport or the 'Green Pass' scheme.
With the EU relaxing travel restrictions under its ''Green Pass'' scheme, India has asked the members of the 27-nation grouping to individually consider allowing Indians who have taken Covishield and Covaxin vaccines and want to travel to Europe, sources said.
As part of its 'reciprocity policy', India has informed the Union that it will exempt European nationals holding the ''Green Pass'' from mandatory quarantine in the country provided its request to recognise Covishield and Covaxin vaccines is heeded to, they said.
What is the Green Pass?
The European Union''s Digital COVID certificate or "Green Pass" will be rolled out on Thursday with an aim to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic is to come into effect on Thursday.
Under this framework, persons who have taken vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be exempted from travel restrictions within the EU region.
The individual member states have the flexibility to also accept vaccines that have been authorised at the national level or those recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"We have requested EU member states to individually consider extending similar exemption to those persons who have taken COVID-19 vaccines in India, that is Covishield and Covaxin, and accept the vaccination certificate issued through the CoWIN portal," said a source.
The sources said the genuineness of such vaccination certification can be authenticated on the CoWIN portal.
"We have also conveyed to EU member states that India will institute a reciprocal policy for recognition of the EU Digital Covid Certificate," the source said.
"Upon notification of Covishield and Covaxin for inclusion in the EU Digital Covid Certificate and recognition of Indian CoWIN vaccination certificates, Indian health authorities would reciprocally exempt the EU member state concerned for exemption from the mandatory quarantine of all those persons carrying EU digital COVID certificate," the source said.
There have been apprehensions in India that people who took Covishield and Covaxin jabs are unlikely to be eligible to travel to the European Union member states under its ''Green Pass'' scheme.
The EU Digital COVID certificate or ''Green Pass'' will be mandatory to travel to European countries and the document will serve as proof that a person is vaccinated against COVID-19.
An EU official on Tuesday said individual member states of the European Union will have the option to accept vaccines authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) like Covishield for obtaining the bloc's digital COVID certificate.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday took up the issue of inclusion of Covishield in the EU digital Covid certificate scheme during a meeting with Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Italy.
(With inputs from PTI)