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UK Vaccine Racism: Reciprocity Just the First Step, India Must Hit Where It Hurts

By: Anand Narasimhan

Last Updated: October 05, 2021, 16:32 IST

Queues of people wait at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, on September 1, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

Queues of people wait at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, on September 1, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

UK today needs us more than we need them. After Brexit, they are trying to develop their own ties with nations. We must make trade equations dear, shift the businesses to other countries.

“It is sin to commit injustice, but it is a greater sin to tolerate injustice,” said Sri Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield. If one continues to tolerate the injustice being done now, then it gives the offenders the courage to continue with their sins…and there shall be no end to it. The message of the Bhagavad Gita rings true to this day. And perhaps it is only right that Bharat decides to follow the fundamental life lesson. This is a Bharat that is aware of its civilisational roots. This is a Bharat that is psychologically breaking away from its colonial shackles and telling the world that we are not a nation to be messed with.

Pakistan got the message with the Balakot strikes, China got the message post Galwan and now it is the turn of the United Kingdom. Its deliberate attempt to undermine India but blocking our vaccine first and then raising doubts over our vaccine certification portal CoWin has been reciprocated in equal measure. This has been done after multiple efforts made overtly and through back channel deliberations to prevail upon the UK that their policy is unfair and their doubts unfounded.

PM Modi at UNGA underlined the credibility of CoWin. He urged nations to recognise the scale of our achievement. From the October 4, any UK national travelling to India will have to undergo the same protocols of testing, trial and quarantine that an Indian national travelling to the UK from India will be subjected to. This is despite the UK national being doubly vaccinated. The rules mandate RTPCR test within 72 hours before travel, RTPCR test upon arrival, quarantine at home or destination address for 10 days and another RTPCR test 8 days post arrival.

UK’s hand written vaccine certificate and its vaccines will not be recognised. Why should they be? When our digital QR coded certificate which surpasses the guidelines set by WHO isn’t? UK’s vaccine racism has been called out. Imagine the gall of a nation that cannot even provide fuel for its residents, is witnessing the worst fuel crisis where men and women are resorting to violence, it’s a free for all at petrol bunks; such a nation is trying to dictate terms to us. This is a nation that is repeatedly caught failing people of Indian origin, be it Rashmi Samant and her treatment at Oxford University or Nirali Desai, the owner of a petrol bunk who was shoved into the ground by a supremacist Briton.

‘Raaj Paat sab chala gaya, akad nahi gayi’ nor have they been able to shed their supremacist mindset. But no more. This is not a colonised Bharat. This is Azad Hind. This is Naya Bharat. And Naya Bharat knows how to hit back. Naya Bharat will give it back in equal measure if not more. There are many who believe the reciprocity will not affect the UK much but will only hurt more of the Indian diaspora based in the UK who would want to travel to India during the festive season. But aren’t these people residents of the UK now?

Let them do their bit to build pressure on the British government to ensure that they don’t have to face quarantine upon coming to India. Let them turn around ask questions of the British government over this brazen discrimination with India and its vaccine certification. In fact, the government mustn’t stop here.

Reciprocity must be the first step. India must use multiple ‘soft’ tools at its disposal to force the UK to make a choice. Frankly, UK today needs us more than we need them. After Brexit, they are trying to develop their own ties with nations. We must make trade equations dear, shift the businesses to other countries in Europe and elsewhere. This isn’t 1921, its 2021. Time we rub it in a bit.

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first published:October 05, 2021, 16:28 IST
last updated:October 05, 2021, 16:32 IST
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