India has discussed air bubble with Saudi Arabia: Government
India has discussed finalisation of an air bubble arrangement with Saudi Arabia to allow travel between the two countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic, minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan informed Parliament on Wednesday.
India currently has air bubble arrangements with 28 countries around the world, ranging from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan. In West Asia, such arrangements have been finalised with Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Saudi Arabia is home to about 2.6 million Indian nationals, one of the largest concentrations of expatriates in West Asia. About nine million Indians live in the Gulf states, a majority of them workers and professionals.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Muraleedharan said: “Government has discussed finalisation of a draft air bubble arrangement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which would enable people from both countries to undertake travel between India and Saudi Arabia during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Since Saudi Arabia suspended the entry of incoming passengers from India due to the pandemic, negotiations on the air bubble arrangement are “currently on hold”, he said.
“The issue continues to be taken up by the government with Saudi Arabia,” Muraleedharan added.