India and Maldives have agreed to create an “air travel bubble” to facilitate the movement of people between the two countries, which will be the first Air Bubble established in South Asia.
An air bubble between countries allows citizens to travel freely between specified nations without having the need to undergo on-arrival quarantine. India currently has allowed travel to the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Kuwait, and is in talks with Canada for a similar travel arrangement.
The announcement was made in a digital video conference held today (13 August) between Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar. The step will help in the movement of people from both sides for employment, tourism, medical emergencies, etc.
During the virtual meeting, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid thanked the Indian government for including the Maldives among the first countries with which India has established an air bubble and emphasized the importance of easing travel, especially for Maldivians seeking to visit India for urgently required medical treatment, as well as Indian tourists wishing to visit the Maldives.
During the virtual meet, India also announced assistance of USD250 million as budget support and USD500 million for the Greater Malé Connectivity Project. This will be the single-largest infrastructure project in the Maldives and will link Male with Villingili, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi islands.
Connecting for Connectivity!— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) August 13, 2020
A warm, fruitful, extremely productive meeting with EAM @DrSJaishankar today!
The already robust and dynamic #MaldivesIndiaPartnership continues to strengthen, even during the pandemic! Agreement on several key initiatives moving forward. pic.twitter.com/HVchHVVaq4