India has informally asked all its airlines to not allow Chinese nationals into the country as a retaliatory push against its neighbor. Centre’s this move comes after China’s not-so-subtle action of not permitting Indians into their country. This hostile move has only worsened since November 2020.
India and China have both suspended flights between respective countries. However, Chinese nationals are flying into India using indirect tactics. The nationals eligible to travel as per the current travel norms for foreigners are entering Indian soil by first flying to a third country. This third country has a travel bubble with India. And from there, the officials fly to India. Additionally, Chinese nationals already living in these third countries were also travelling to India for work and business affairs.
Over the last weekend, Centre has informally asked its airlines to not allow Chinese nationals (both Indian and foreign) on board to fly to India. In the current scenario, tourist visas to India remain suspended. However, certain foreigners shall fly here on grounds of work and other specific non-tourist reasons. Industrial sources recently commented that most Chinese nationals visiting India have come from air bubbles European countries.
Some airlines, according to reports, have asked the government to provide a written document for giving a reason to deny boarding to Chinese nationals. This is necessary since the nationals are following all travel norms specified by India.
New Delhi’s response to Beijing comes at a time when Indian seafarers are stranded in various Chinese ports. China is not only denying them on shore but also to change their crew. This move is gravely affecting nearly 1,500 Indians working on international flag merchant ships. This is primarily due to their of their inability to return home.
China’s primary target is Australia whose coal is now banned by the country. However, in this conflict, Indians are the collateral sufferers due to Beijing’s unwillingness to organise immediate help. When questioned recently about this issue, Chinese foreign ministry decided to give the power to local authorities to take a stance. However, local authorities have not given any forthcoming permissions. The Chinese government also gave a list of steps to follow but, as per India officials, these steps are merely to incite frustration.