India’s Minister Jaishankar discusses ‘air-travel bubble’ with SL business leaders


Visiting External Minister, S. Jaishankar discussed starting an ‘air travel bubble’ with India and expanding a free trade agreement during a meeting with Sri Lanka business leaders.

India already had ‘air-travel bubble’ arrangements with more than 20 countries, India’s External Minister has stated.

India was Sri Lanka’s largest source of foreign visitors before the Covid-19 pandemic.

There was potential to enhance tourism between India and Sri Lanka in view of proximity and cultural similarities between the two countries, Minister Jaishankar had said.

India’s air-travel bubble had helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the sector, he said.

The establishment of a bilateral forum to discuss business-related issues, greater utilization of the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and the possibility of an expanded FTA between the two sides, conclusion of a Mutual Recognition arrangement on standards was also discussed.

Mahesh Amalean, Chairman/Co-Founder, MAS Holdings; Krishan Balendra, Chairman and CEO, John Keells Holdings; Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority; Umesh Gautam, President, Indian CEO Forum, Sri Lanka; Vish Govindasamy, Group MD, Sunshine Holdings Plc; Ashroff Omar, Group CEO, Brandix Lanka Limited; A. Mohan Pandithage, Chairman and Chief Executive, Hayleys; and Hans Wijayasuriya, Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce were in the meeting.

An Air-bubble arrangement for business travel, and the possibility of Indian investments in Sri Lanka was also discussed.