GS Paper - 2 International Relations

India has established a bilateral air bubble arrangement with Sri Lanka for operation of special international passenger flights between the two countries, the Civil Aviation Ministry said on 10 April 2021. With this, India now has such pacts with 28 countries, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the UAE, the UK and the United States.


  1. Under an air bubble pact between two countries, special international passenger flights can be operated by their airlines into each other’s territories under restrictive conditions.
  2. India has finalized an air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka, making it the 6th such arrangement in the SAARC region and the 28th in total.
  3. All the eligible passengers will be able to travel between the 2 countries in the near future.
  4. Scheduled international flights have been suspended in India since 23 March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  5. However, special international passenger flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission since May last year and under bilateral air bubble arrangements since July.