India-Bangladesh relations get a boost as New Delhi proposes air bubble with Dhaka
India and Bangladesh have emerged as strong neighbours with India providing all possible assistance to Dhaka to meet its requirements
In order to make travel easier and further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries, India has decided to create an ‘air bubble’ arrangement with Bangladesh. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has sent a proposal to the Bangladeshi government to resume operations of five airlines on 16 routes between the two countries.
According to Bangladeshi media, once the arrangement is agreed, the airlines will carry 17,120 passengers in a week from Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong to International Airports in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
As per the proposal, Air India will be carrying 346 passengers on each route from Dhaka to Delhi and Dhaka to Kolkata every week while Go Air will carry 1,302 passengers every week on each of these routes.
Around the same number of the passengers will be carried by IndiGo on each of these routes. The airline will also carry an additional of 558 passengers on Dhaka to Chennai route, the proposal said.
Similarly, SpiceJet will carry 546 passengers every week on each route from Chittagong to Kolkata and Dhaka to Kolkata. The airline will also carry 558 passengers from Dhaka to Delhi and Dhaka to Mumbai while a total of 556 passengers will be carried from Dhaka to Chennai every week.
The maximum number of passengers will be carried by Vistara Airlines which will carry 2,632 passengers every week on each route from Dhaka to Delhi and Dhaka to Kolkata. 1,316 passengers on the Dhaka to Mumbai route, and 1,316 passengers on the Dhaka to Chennai route will be carried.
On the other hand, Bangladesh, earlier this month proposed to set up air bubble routes between the two countries.
Apart from this, India is also planning to extend Air Bubbles to several other countries. The Civil Aviation Minister has said more agreements are being put in place to facilitate air travel.
In a tweet, he had said, “More flights, destinations & air bubbles being put in place to facilitate inbound & outbound international travel of stranded citizens under Vande Bharat Mission. More than 17 lakh people facilitated since 6 May 2020.”
More flights, destinations & air bubbles being put in place to facilitate inbound & outbound international travel of stranded citizens under Vande Bharat Mission.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) September 20, 2020
More than 17 lakh people facilitated since 6 May 2020.
Reaching out to more everyday. pic.twitter.com/RLXsoSNPPU
The air bubble agreement was one of the key points discussed between India and Bangladesh during Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s two-day visit to Dhaka in August this year.
In the past few years, India and Bangladesh have emerged as strong neighbours and allies of each other with India advocating Bangladesh’s interests at various international forums.
The latest example is India-Japan Act East Forum held recently in which India and Japan looked for possibilities to cooperate projects in Bangladesh and Myanmar as part of their efforts to work closely together in other countries of the Indo-Pacific region.
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar at the Forum held by FICCI on theme ‘India-Japan: Time to Seize the Opportunities’ said, “We’ve done a little bit of that in Sri Lanka and I think we’re today trying to see whether we can cooperate and coordinate more closely in Bangladesh and Myanmar.”
India is also working towards the development of its immediate neighbour Bangladesh and the nations undertaken several bilateral projects to facilitate the same.
In fact, in the last week of July, India gifted 10 broad gauge locomotives to Dhaka to assist its neighbour. Besides, India is working on Bangladesh's 17 Railway sector projects under $2.44 billion in line of credit, some media reports suggested. Out of these 17, nine have already been completed. These include, supply of locomotives, flat wagons, railway bridges and signalling equipment.
India is also engaged in developing a 12 kilometres long rail link between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has also been one of the biggest trading partners of India in the world and the biggest trading partner of India in South Asia. According to the Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) data, bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has grown steadily over the last decade. India’s exports to Bangladesh in the Financial Year 2018-19 stood at $ 9.21 billion and imports from Bangladesh during the same period were $1.04 billion.
The countries showed a green flag to the new riverine trade route earlier this month when a Bangladeshi vessel transported cargo of 50 metric tonnes of cement via a 93 kilometres long route from Bangladesh’s Daudkandi to Tripura.