By Palak Chhabra
India and Russia have concluded an air bubble agreement, which will permit airlines from both sides to carry stranded citizens of the two countries, seamen and a few other categories of travelers. These flights are a positive step forward after Covid 19 lockdowns and restrictions, to be followed with the required protocol.Categories of passengers eligible to fly under the new air bubble include:
From India to Russia
The stranded nationals/residents of Russia, along with nationals of India or Bhutan or Nepal holding a valid visa of Russia will be included. Seamen of foreign nationalities and ones holding Indian passports would be allowed subject to clearance from the Ministry of Shipping.
From Russia to India
Nationals of India or Nepal or Bhutan stranded in Russia would be allowed to board. It also includes all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders holding passports of any country. Russian nationals intending to visit India for any purpose are included except those on tourist visa. Seamen from countries of Russia will also be covered.
Lately, Russia had announced that it would resume issuing visas for all categories of Indian citizens planning to travel to the country by air and to those possessing residence permits. The move was in line with a decision made by the Russian Covid-19 Emergency Response. A statement issued by the Russian embassy said the “entry of tourists from Russia is not yet possible”.Flights under bilateral air bubble agreements with select countries are allowed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. India currently has such agreements with 25 countries.
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