Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Vikram Doraiswami yesterday said he was hopeful about resuming air travel between Bangladesh and India "very quickly".
He, however, said it would take "more time" to issue Indian tourist and student visas due to this ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Doraiswami was speaking to reporters after making a courtesy call to Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader at the minister's secretariat office yesterday. This is Doraiswami's first meeting with Quader, also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League, after he took charge of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka recently.
"We have already resumed visa processes. We encourage our Bangladeshi partners to resume their applications. Almost all visa categories are covered... I am pressing very hard to reopen all visa services," he said.
Asked about a bilateral air bubble pact, under which airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions, he said, "We are waiting for final agreement from our partners here.
"We have given our response and we said yes to all the requests from Bangladeshi partners for seats and everything. So, hopefully, with your support and blessing, we will also start flights very quickly," he added.
Asked whether India will take any initiative to expedite the projects being implemented under Indian lines of credit as most are running behind the schedule, he said: "Yes. Absolutely."
The high commissioner said he has discussed the issue with the minister. He said during the Indian foreign secretary's visit to Bangladesh in August this year, both countries had agreed to set up a new mechanism between the secretary of Economic Relations Division and the high commissioner regarding the LoC projects.
"We will meet as soon as possible to review the projects and progress of these," he said. "Nobody wants these projects to complete quickly [more] than our and your prime ministers."
Talking about bilateral relations, the high commissioner said, "For India, as I have mentioned in my first press meet here, there is no more important partner than Bangladesh."
Talking to reporters, Obaidul Quader said, water sharing of interlinked rivers, including the Teesta, is an important issue and the high commissioner told him that the Indian prime minister is very much sincere about it and trying his level best.
Both countries are hopeful of a respectful solution of the issues and positive development has already been made in this regard, he said.
"Relationship between the two countries has reached a new level as a result of the sincere efforts of these two prime ministers. India considers Bangladesh an important partner. We want to move forward this friendly and warm relationship for the people of both countries," Quader said.