In wake of the United Kingdom's recent travel restrictions against vaccinated Indians travelling, the Opposition expressed concern and over the inconvenience to Indian travellers. On Tuesday, Congress urged the centre to ensure that there is no inconvenience faced by any Indian travelling to the UK.
Britain recently announced new rules for Indian travellers under which those who have received both doses of the Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) will be considered unvaccinated and will have to undergo self-isolation for 10 days.
Reacting to the development, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "We are very concerned about the kind of inconvenience our people will have to face while travelling to the UK."
Taking a dig at government, he said this raises pertinent questions on the way the government has handled international relations.
"We would request the government to immediately intervene and ensure that there is no inconvenience faced by any Indian travelling to the UK," he said.
His remarks come a day after former Union ministers and Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Anand Sharma and Shashi Tharoor slammed the UK's COVID-19-related travel rules, with Ramesh saying it "smacks of racism".
Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla called it "discriminatory" and seemed surprised by the decision considering that the Serum Institute had provided the UK with five million doses that were used to jab into the arms of British citizens.
While Tharoor had said that because of the restrictions he had even pulled out of a debate at The Cambridge Union debating society and from the launch events for the UK edition of his latest book, Sharma urged the Prime Minister's Office to take a stand against the UK's double standards and cancel the proposed India-UK trade talks.
From October 4, the "traffic light system" of red, amber, green countries based on levels of COVID-19 risk will be replaced in the UK by one red list of countries.
The scrapping of the amber list, which is what India is currently on, means a reduced PCR test cost burden only for some travellers.
However, the expanded list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in the UK does not include India. It means Indians vaccinated with Covishield, the SII-produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, would be required to undergo compulsory PCR tests as well as self-isolation.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has urged for an "early resolution" of the COVID-19 quarantine issue during his meeting with the newly appointed British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in the US.
(With inputs from PTI)