India on Thursday asked China to issue visas to Indians who meet all travel requirements laid down by Beijing, reported NDTV. Of the many criteria, China has made it mandatory to get vaccinated with Chinese-made coronavirus shots.

In March, the Chinese embassy in India had said it would consider giving visas to those taking Chinese-made vaccines for Covid-19.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Indians who usually live in China have been unable to travel back since November even though Chinese citizens were able to travel to India despite the absence of direct connectivity.

“However, for Indian nationals, travel to China has not been possible since last November as the Chinese side had suspended existing visas,” he said at a press briefing. “In March this year, the Chinese embassy issued a notification about facilitating visas for those taking Chinese-made vaccines.”

There are more than 55,000 Indians in China, according to Hindustan Times. At least 23,000 Indians are studying in China, most in medical colleges. Many had returned to India after the Covid-19 outbreak in January 2020 and have been unable to go back.

Bagchi added that the Indian authorities were in touch with their Chinese counterparts to seek “early resumption of travel” between the two countries. “While we recognise the need to ensure safety and strictly follow Covid-related protocols, essential two-way travel should be facilitated, especially keeping in view the fact that Chinese nationals are able to travel to India,” Bagchi added.