As India gears up for its Unlock 2.0 phase from July 1, many foreign nationals, especially from the south east Asian countries, are waiting to fly into the country and resume work. Since May-end, India has been gradually opening up economic activities.
Industry sources told IN that they were hoping to get special permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs to fly into India, even as the number of coronavirus cases in the country has been steadily rising.
While the Narendra Modi government has decided to extend suspension of international flights till July 15, the DGCA has allowed a few international flights only on a case-to-case basis.
On June 19, the Korean-based Asiana Airlines landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport with about 130 South Koreans nationals. The flight came in from Incheon in South Korea. There were about 30 Indians as well. However, this was under a special arrangement.
As the government presses its paddle over the ‘Make In India’ plank, many multinationals are eagerly waiting to explore investment opportunities here.
A senior executive at a South Korean multinational company said that despite the rise in the coronavirus cases, expatriates living here expressed confidence in the government. “They are bullish about the market and they feel that India will recover sooner than expected, even as many think tanks and rating agencies have predicted an acute recession,” the executive said.
Despite the spread of the disease in the last one month, most foreigners believe that India has done a ‘commendable job’ especially considering its population and the density of population.
That apart, south east Asian countries have witnessed ‘pandemic-like’ situation earlier as well with the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), swine flu or H1N1 flu, which have killed many. Now there have been reports suggesting that China could be witnessing an outbreak of another pandemic carried by pigs, which can easily mutate and spread through human to human transmission. “So in any case the fear of a pandemic stays wherever you are,” the executive pointed out.
Interestingly, even Chinese nationals who are stuck in their own country, are keen to return to India, notwithstanding the mounting tension between India and the dragon nation after the bloody clash between the two over the Line of Actual Control.
While India closed its borders after March and stopped international flights from plying to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in early June, the Ministry of Home Affairs gave its permission to a few categories of foreigners to fly into India..