India looking at air bubble deal with Bangladesh to get around land travel restrictions

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Owing to restrictions in the cross-border movement of people due to the coronavirus pandemic, India is now planning to start air transport bubbles with Bangladesh, ThePrint has learnt.

Air travel bubbles are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended, in this case due to Covid-19.

The matter was discussed during a recent meeting between Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla and Muhammad Imran, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, earlier this week.

According to diplomatic sources, while Bangladesh has removed all restrictions on its sides of the border areas, through which the movement of people takes place, India continues to remain shut as it battles the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Bangladesh has urged India to allow the entry of those who want to visit India on medical grounds. Some of them, the sources said, have valid visas issued by the Indian High Commission in Dhaka but cannot travel owing to the shutting down of borders.

“India has offered travel bubbles to all the neighbours… There is a process and it is being followed before these can be operationalised,” a top official said.