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China keen to resume direct flights to India

China is keen to resume direct flights with India and will be negotiating on the matter in the next few months, according to people aware of the matter, reports Shashank Matoo for Mint.

Direct flights between the two nations have been disrupted since 2020, after the outbreak of the Covid-19. While India has allowed resumption of flights with several countries starting March last year, China, was not on the list as relations hit a new low after clashes between the armed forces of both nations in June 2020.

The absence of direct flights has forced travellers to book connecting flights through third countries, which can often be more expensive. Travel between the two nations is happening through various airports around India including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore.

China’s strict Covid-19 travel restrictions also played an important role in closing off direct flights. Its “circuit-breaker” policy mandated that flights on particular international routes be suspended if a certain number of its passengers tested positive for covid-19. However, this policy was relaxed in August last year and scrapped in November.

In response to a press query from Mint, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said that given “the rapid increase of people-to-people exchange between the two countries, the resumption of direct flights will apparently further facilitate cross-border travel. We hope that direct flights between China and India will be resumed as soon as possible.”

A query to the Ministry of External Affairs remained unanswered till press time.

The disruption of direct flights has played a key role in restricting the flow of professionals and students between the two countries. (Source: Mint)

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