India-UAE Current Affairs - 2020

India forms “Air Bubble” with US, UK, UAE, Germany and France

On July 16, 2020, the Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that India is to resume operation of international commercial flights with France and US.

Highlights

The Government of India has signed agreements with US, UK, France and countries in UAE. Negotiations with Germany is in its final stages. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has planned to bring down the air travel charges by 25%.

Agreements

Under the agreements signed with the countries, United Airlines and Delta are to operation from the US. The Air France is to operate from France. No UK based airlines are to operate to India. Rather, Air India will fly to UK. Lufthansa of Germany will operate from Germany.

Who are allowed?

According to the agreement signed, India is to allow only overseas citizens, Indian nationals and card holders and a certain category of people with business and diplomatic visas. People with valid tourist visa will not be allowed to enter India by the flights being scheduled.

Air Bubble

Air Bubble is the term coined during COVID-19 times. It refers to transport and people connectivity between specific regions in the world. Especially between those regions where COVID-19 has been contained to similar levels. The scheme is being called as new avatar of “Vande Bharat Mission”.

Vande Bharat Mission

Vande Bharat Mission was launched by the Government of India to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad. More than 70,000 Indians were brought back to the country under the mission

First Ship load of Crude Oil reaches India

On April 13, 2020, the first crude oil of 1 million barrels from UAE have reached India. The oil prices have declined by 60% since January, 2020. The prices are expected to rise with OPEC and Russia have come to terms to cut their production by 10%. Hence, this is the right time to fill in oil storages.

India’s oil reserves

India has an emergency storage of 5.33 million tonnes. This would suffice the oil demands of the country for 9.5 days. The oil reserves are stored in Mangalore, PAdur and Vishkhapatnam. The Padur oil storage is the biggest of all the three storages. It can store 17 million barrels (2.5 million tonnes).

Financial requirements

The Government of India had set aside Rs 700 crores for oil alone. It needs Rs 2,000 crore more to buy 15 million barrels.

Oil Imports

India imports 83% of its oil. Iraq is India’s largest crude oil supplier meeting one-fourth of the country’s needs. India imports around 111 million tonnes of oil from Iraq. Following Iraq, Saudi Arabia is the second largest oil supplier exporting 20.7 million tonnes of oil to India.

India-US

The oil imports from the US has been increasing lately. US is the sixth largest oil supplier of India. In 2017, India imported 1.9 million tonnes of crude oil from the US. This increased to 6.2 million tonnes in 2018-19.