*India in talks with several countries to establish 'individual bilateral bubbles'
Many Indian expatriates are eagerly looking forward to a Government of India proposal to allow scheduled international flights on select routes including the GCC region.
Recently, the Indian aviation regulator -Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said such a proposal was under “consideration”. India is reportedly in talks with the US, Canada and some countries in the European and Gulf (GCC) regions to establish "individual bilateral bubbles", which will allow airlines of each country in the pact to operate international flights, Airports Authority of India chairperson Arvind Singh said at a recent webinar.
India suspended all the domestic and international flight services in the last week of March.
The domestic flights have since started operations on some routes after a gap of two months in May.
As India struggles to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, the DGCA extended the ban on international flights until July 31.
Earlier, the aviation regulator had cancelled the international flights until July 15.
According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation India (CAPA India), international operations may resume in August, but are not expected to reach “any meaningful scale” until the third quarter (Q3).Thousands of Indian expatriates will benefit if India concludes a “travel bubble” with Qatar, with whom it has good air connectivity, thanks to airlines such as Qatar Airways, Air India and IndiGo.
Hundreds of Qatar-based Indian students who are seeking admission in their home country for further education will be among the immediate beneficiaries of such a deal.
In India, the admission to coveted medical and engineering courses is decided on the basis of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and JEE (Main), respectively.
NEET is an entrance examination in India for students who wish to study undergraduate medical courses and dental courses in government or private medical colleges and dental colleges in India.
Admission criteria to undergraduate engineering programmes at NITs, IITs, other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions, institutions funded by participating state governments and other institutions shall include the performance in the grade 12/equivalent qualifying examination and in the Joint Entrance Examination-JEE (Main).Because of Covid-19, the NEET and JEE (Main) selection procedures have not been completed yet.
However, students need to be in India to take the respective tests and complete the admission process.
Ashwini Phadnis, a Delhi-based prominent Indian aviation analyst, told Gulf Times that students planning to fly to India, either on repatriation flights or the proposed scheduled services, should account for a quarantine period, which is mandatory for all visitors to the country.
Any international visitor is now quarantined for a minimum 14 days on their arrival in India. He said there was a huge demand for scheduled international flights to and from the country from the Indian diaspora abroad.
Millions of Indians live and work in US, Canada, Europe, GCC countries, Africa, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries.
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