In a first after the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, India is all set to resume international travel. The first country for which the resumption of flight is going to take place will be United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the Emirates’ top diplomats to India has revealed that the West Asian country was in talks with India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Civil Aviation for restarting the flights.
Why India is resuming travel to UAE?
Major cities in UAE such as Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, etc. have emerged as employment hubs over the last few decades. Thousands of Indian citizens hold residency visas and work permits for the country and have been urging the Indian government to let them travel to UAE, else they might lose their jobs.
Most of these people had arrived in India prior to the nationwide lockdown and international travel restrictions were imposed in March. They have been stranded here ever since, with no option to travel back. “We have received thousands of requests from people saying if they do not return back to Dubai in time, they will be sacked from their jobs,” an official revealed. This has led to a pent-up demand and numerous requests to the governments of both countries to allow them to fly to the UAE.
What are the requirements for Indians travelling to the UAE?
Ahmed Albanna, the UAE’s Ambassador to India, revealed that for now the country plans to let tourists as well as residency visa holders enter its borders only if they fulfil two conditions. First, they need to take an approval from the UAE Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. The procedure can be completed online. Second, they need to have a Covid-19 PCR test done no more than 96 hours from the date of arrival into the UAE.
Why are the governments still pondering over the matter?
The decision is not an easy one, especially in light of Covid-19. State-run airlines were pulled up from the UAE in order to repatriate the stranded Indian nationals from the country. As a result, all other outbound air traffic was suspended. While the Indian government is now ready to allow its carriers to ferry passengers from India to the UAE, it is not willing to let foreign airlines bring passengers to India. With due discussions, this point of contention is expected to be resolved soon.
Last modified: July 13, 2020