India-Singapore air travel bubble ‘under negotiation’, says India High Commissioner

India and Singapore are currently in negotiation to open an air travel bubble between the two countries, said India’s High Commissioner in Singapore P Kumaran on Monday (25 Jan).

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Kumaran said, “I think there is a fair amount of interest on both sides to enhance the connectivity which we have enjoyed over the years,” adding that the connectivity that has been enjoyed between the two countries have been seriously disrupted due to COVID-19.

“So we are talking about a proposal to restore step by step the connectivity that we enjoyed earlier, and there is a draft under negotiation,” he explained.

There has already been concern among the public about Singapore allowing travellers into the country, as the number of imported COVID-19 cases continue to rise. On 23 January, all 44 new cases were imported.

In fact, most of the imported cases of COVID-19 in Singapore are from India. According to figures from the Ministry of Health in the past three days, 40 out of 106 imported cases were from India. That’s roughly 37.7 percent.

India has reported over 10.6 million cases of COVID-19 to date, with daily new cases hitting the over tens of thousands between July to December 2020. In January 2021, the daily new cases were coming in at over 10,000. On 25 January, India reported 12,569 new COVID-19 cases.

Further on the subject of connectivity between the two countries, Mr Kumaran spoke about the recently signed agreement between Singapore and India on a submarine rescue support programme under the India-Singapore Defence Cooperation Agreement which was first signed in 2003.

He continued, “We have a very strong defence relationship which goes into areas such as training, joint exercises and also support and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“Overall, in terms of the various new initiatives that are coming in, we continue to talk about the possibilities for joint defence production and also to enhance cooperation in terms of more visits by ships on both sides and to enhance the scope of our joint exercises.

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