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India to resume visa-free travel between India and Maldives

India has agreed to resume the 2018 visa exemption agreement with the Maldives from October 15. The agreement was temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about this, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid tweeted that he is delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 visa exemption which facilitates travel between two countries under which Maldivians do not require a visa to visit India.

 “No visa required from Oct 15 for Maldivians travelling to India for Medical, Business & Tourism purposes. Maldives will be the 1st beneficiary of visa-free travel since COVID restrictions were imposed by India in Mar 2020. This move restores the bilateral visa-free agreement of Dec 2018.” Tweeted The High Commission of India in the Maldives.

This move comes after India recently agreed that it will be open for international tourism from October 15, while the Maldives was open to tourism since July 2020. 

Reports have suggested that the pandemic has affected tourism and in addition to that, the double wave of coronavirus caused more harm for domestic tourism.

The tourism sector made up for around 10 per cent of the Indian economy in pre-pandemic years.

Regarding the 2018 visa exemption agreement, it is helpful for Maldivian residents to visit India for business, tourism, medical and educational purposes, whereas it also grants Indian employees work permits within 15 days of their arrival and eases visa rules.  Reportedly, the agreement was signed in December of 2018, when Maldives President Ibu Solih visited India.

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