Will the Indian delegation be able to travel to UK for climate summit

NEW DELHI: The UK’s policy on Covid-19 vaccination for people from most of the global south has raised questions about the fate of entry of the Indian delegation, including the Environment Minister, to the annual climate change talks set to begin in 40 days at Glasgow.

Starting October 4, the UK will get rid of the earlier red, amber, and green list of countries segregated on certain norms related to which country has used which vaccine. India featured in the amber list and now that will be scrapped. However, the UK has made another list of countries whose vaccines are recognised in England and that does not feature India.

Simply put, Indians citizens vaccinated with Covishield vaccine would be required to undergo a pre-departure PCR test and further tests on landing in the UK and quarantine of up to 10 days.

The COP26, the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), starts on October 31 at Glasgow, and official delegates and scores of other people are expected to reach a day or two before it.

Civil society activists from global south – mainly comprising countries from Africa and Asia – have already flagged the issue as several of the poorer countries are still struggling with vaccination to most of their citizens not yet complete. They have also cried hoarse about “time and expensive quarantine costs” ahead of the key COP26 climate talks, scheduled from October 31 till November 12.

Climate Action Network (CAN) International – a group of civil society activists/ members from 130 countries – has said the poor attendance from the low-income countries can have an adverse impact on the negotiations and the COP26 may end up missing vital input from these countries.

Queries to British High Commission here on mail went unanswered.

Sources in the Indian Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry, however, said, that “there has been an informal communication that the delegation is exempted”.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla , while briefing on Prime Minister’s US visit for the QUAD and UNGA meetings, said: “The non-recognition of Covishield vaccine is a discriminating policy and impacts our citizens travelling to the UK. The External Affairs Ministry has raised the issue strongly with the new UK Foreign Secretary.”