India on Thursday relaxed visa restrictions to allow foreign nationals to enter India by air or sea for any purpose except tourism.

The Home Affairs Ministry, in a statement, said the government "has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India."

Vendors are seen with their masks moved down in a commercial district in New Delhi on Sept. 4, 2020. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"This decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.," it said.

It clarified that the relaxation applies to "foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa."

All travelers will have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of India's health ministry regarding quarantine.

India has taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February.

In June, some visa restrictions for foreigners were eased for foreign businessmen coming on chartered flights, health care professionals and engineering, managerial, design or other specialists.

In August, the government relaxed visa restrictions to allow foreign journalists to enter India, as well as foreign nationals from the United States, Britain, Germany and France on business, medical and employment visas under air bubble schemes.

As of Thursday, India's coronavirus cases have exceeded 7.7 million, the second highest count globally following the United States, with 116,616 deaths.