India Inc in China concerned over China’s Covid-19 travel restrictions

Beijing, Apr 1 (PTI): The CEOs of a host of Indian businesses and industries in China have expressed concern over the continuing COVID-19 related visa and travel restrictions being pursued by Beijing which they say are hampering their activities.

They expressed their concern during their interaction with the Indian Ambassador to China, Vikram Misri.

Misri, who is on a visit to Shanghai, inaugurated on Friday the Amrut Mahotsav festival, marking the 75 years of India’s independence.

Inaugurated [email protected] #AmrutMahotsav in #Shanghai. A soulful rendition of #Upanishad & #Gita, melodious Sitar/Tabla performance, #Deshbhakti songs, films on musical traditions of #Varanasi & #VaccineMaitri marked the occasion,” Misri tweeted.

He also interacted with a group of CEOs and representatives of the Indian businesses based in and around Shanghai, the business hub of China.

Over 30 officials representing eight sectors such as textiles, pharma, electronics, manufacturing, chemicals and IT etc attended the meeting with Misri.

Interacted with the Indian industry representatives based in Shanghai. Business leaders representing various sectors including #IT, #Pharma, #textiles, #engineering, Manufacturing, #foodprocessing, #banking etc participated in discussions, Misri said in another tweet.

In their interaction with Misri, the CEOs stated they were experiencing difficulties in operations, mostly on account of travel and visa restrictions being maintained by China as part of its COVID-19 measures, official sources here told PTI.

Misri assured them the Indian Embassy will continue to engage with the Chinese government on the issues related to the travel restrictions, the sources said.

Travel between India and China has been halted since Beijing imposed travel restrictions in November last year and suspended the visas and resident permits held by Indian citizens.

These restrictions left over 23,000 Indian students and hundreds of Indian businessmen, employees and their families stranded in India.

Currently, there are no flights in operation between the two countries.

China has not yet indicated when it plans to permit travel despite numerous representations from the Indian Embassy here and the students, who mostly study medicine in Chinese universities.

These universities maintain that they are holding online classes for the stranded students.

Last month, China made it mandatory for travellers coming from India and 19 other countries to have been inoculated with Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to enter the country.

This created more confusion as Chinese vaccines are not available in India. While China has not included the students in the mandatory vaccine list, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Chinese authorities would study the issues related to students but no decision has been announced yet.

Several top Indian industries and businesses operate from different parts of China.

With the growth in bilateral trade between India and China in the last few years, many Indian companies have set up operations in this country to service both their Indian and MNC clientele in China.

Indian enterprises are into manufacturing including pharmaceuticals, refractories, laminated tubes, auto-components, wind energy, IT and IT-enabled services, trading, banking and allied activities.

Some of the prominent Indian companies in China include Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharma, Matrix Pharma, NIIT, Bharat Forge, Infosys, TCS, APTECH, Wipro, Mahindra Satyam, Essel Packaging, Suzlon Energy, Reliance Industries, Sundaram Fasteners, Mahindra & Mahindra, TATA Sons, Binani Cements, etc.

Two-way trade between India and China in 2020 was USD 87.6 billion, down by 5.6 per cent, according to new figures from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) in January this year.