Air bubble with Saudi Arabia: Negotiations on hold, says external affairs minister

New Delhi: External affairs minister V Muraleedharan on Wednesday informed Parliament that negotiations on an air bubble with Saudi Arabia are on hold as the Kingdom has banned the entry of passengers from India due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, the minister informed that the government has discussed the finalization of draft air bubble arrangements with Saudi Arabia. He added that the negotiations were suspended due to the entry ban, Hindustan Times reported.

He further informed that India currently has air bubble arrangements with 28 countries including Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, etc.

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Air bubble

The concept of air bubble became famous after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an agreement between two countries.

Under the agreement, carriers of both countries will be allowed to fly passengers either ways without restrictions.

An air bubble is different from repatriation as in the latter, the carriers are allowed to fly passengers in only one way.  

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