Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Bangladesh-India flights to resume soon

Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami yesterday said he was hopeful about resuming air travel between Bangladesh and India "very quickly".

He, however, said it would take "more time" to issue Indian tourist and student visas due to this ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Doraiswami was speaking to reporters after making a courtesy call to Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at the minister's secretariat office yesterday. This is Doraiswami's first meeting with Quader, also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League, after he took charge of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka recently.

"We have already resumed visa processes. We encourage our Bangladeshi partners to resume their applications. Almost all visa categories are covered... I am pressing very hard to reopen all visa services," he said.

Asked about a bilateral air bubble pact, under which airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions, he said, "We are waiting for final agreement from our partners here.

"We have given our response and we said yes to all the requests from Bangladeshi partners for seats and everything. So, hopefully, with your support and blessing, we will also start flights very quickly," he added.

Asked whether India will take any initiative to expedite the projects being implemented under Indian lines of credit as most are running behind the schedule, he said: "Yes. Absolutely."

The high commissioner said he has discussed the issue with the minister. He said during the Indian foreign secretary's visit to Bangladesh in August this year, both countries had agreed to set up a new mechanism between the secretary of Economic Relations Division and the high commissioner regarding the LoC projects.

"We will meet as soon as possible to review the projects and progress of these," he said. "Nobody wants these projects to complete quickly [more] than our and your prime ministers."

13/10/20 Daily Star

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