The Chinese Embassy in India on Monday said it would simplify visa applications for travellers provided they have taken “Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccines”. However, the new rules are unlikely to facilitate travel as India has not approved the use of China-made vaccines in the country.

China had barred the entry of foreigners from India in November in the wake of rising coronavirus cases. There are at least 23,000 Indians studying in China, most in medical colleges, according to The Hindu.

“For the purpose of resuming people-to-people exchanges in an orderly manner, starting from 15 March, 2021, the Chinese embassies and consulates in India will provide the persons having taken Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccine and holding the certificates of vaccination with the following facilitating measures,” read the notification by the Chinese Embassy.

It added that foreigners flying from India to China would be required to present the Electronic Health Declaration for boarding. They will have to fill in the information, declare the health status and upload the negative certificate of nucleic acid test and IgM antibody test, passport page, as well as valid Chinese visa. These will then be examined and verified by the Chinese Embassy or Consulates in India.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that China “stands ready to advance mutual recognition of vaccines with other countries”, but that process is expected to take time.

The new notification comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United States President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga came together for the first Quad Leaders’ Virtual Summit. The group had decided to begin a collective vaccine initiative under which the doses will be manufactured in India with financial and logistical backing from other member countries.

China announces ‘easier’ visa requirements for foreign travellers

Other Chinese overseas missions, including its embassy in New Delhi, have announced they will begin “facilitating” travellers provided they have taken a China-made jab.

Travellers from the United States, Pakistan and Italy and Sri Lanka who have been “inoculated with Chinese Covid-19 vaccines” can also apply for the visa. Those arriving in China will still have to quarantine for up to three weeks.

Beijing has struggled to gain international trust for its vaccine candidates because of lack of transparency on test results. However, their vaccines have been used in several countries around the world, including Turkey, Indonesia and Cambodia.