Ensuring smooth travel of Indians abroad a priority: Jaishankar

New Delhi, Aug 13 (Agency) External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has said that facilitating hassle-free travelling of Indian nationals abroad with regard to vaccination is a top priority of his ministry. “It is one of my top priorities to ensure that Indians travelling abroad face least possible restrictions with regards to the type of vaccination they have received,” Jaishankar said, addressing the plenary session on “Shaping a New India for Global Role” during CII Annual Meeting 2021 virtually on Thursday. He emphasised that as India and Indians look at the world as a global workplace, international mobility and migration becomes very important.

The External Affairs Minister said that ‘vaccine certificates’ rather than the type of vaccine received should be the criteria for enabling overseas travel and that India is taking up this issue bilaterally with multiple countries. On India’s leadership role during the pandemic, the EAM said that while many countries competed over essential medical supplies, India stood out as being decisive and effective, providing essential food, medicines, equipment and vaccine to various countries. India supplied vaccines to many smaller countries that may not have got the necessary supplies otherwise. For this, countries across the globe appreciated our efforts and reciprocated when India faced the crisis during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

On setting an agenda for positioning a New India beyond 2022, the EAM emphasised that the country needs to invest in building capacities and supply chains within India and the Atmanirbhar Bharat are the kind of holistic approach that provides the platform for it. On trade and business ties, the minister said the government is pursuing free trade agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union very seriously while it has reservations on RCEP due to weak ‘rules of origin’ and many participating economies not being transparent market economies. He quoted current EU president Ursula Von Trayer, that ‘liberalised trade should not come at the cost of fair trade. “We must keep the interests of MSMEs in mind and ensure that they receive a level playing field in domestic market, ” said the EAM.