India inks air bubble agreement with Maldives


India has signed an air bubble agreement with the Maldives, making it the sixth country in a growing list of places where Indians can travel to.  The first flight to Male will leave from here on August 18.

An air bubble between countries allows citizens to travel freely between specified nations without having the need to undergo on-arrival quarantine.

India currently hasallowed travel to the US, the UK, Germany, France and Kuwait, and is in talks with Canada for a similar travel arrangement.

The agreement with Maldives was inked during a video conference between External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and his Maldives counterpart Abdulla Shahid.

During the virtual meet, India also announced a new Indian Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million along with a grant component of USD 100 million for the Greater Male Connectivity Project. This will be the single-largest infrastructure project in the Maldives and will link Male with Villingili, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi islands.

The ministry also announced that a Cargo Ferry service between India and the Maldives will commence at an early date. In addition to connecting Male, the ferry service carries the potential to link Kulhudhuffushi port to India and improve the economy of northern Maldives.

The initiative, which is expected to boost tourism, was announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day state visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago in 2019.