Easier flights, visa-free travel discussed with visiting Indian Foreign Minister

Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at Sunday’s reception (Photo: Office of the Vice President/ April 23, 2023)

Further, he said the Narendra Modi-led government has keenly promoted flights to those countries where there is a large Indian diaspora. Guyana is one such country with a sizable diaspora.

Asked about India-issued visas, the External Affairs Minister said existing immigration services from his country are generally efficient. The country, he highlighted, issues e-visas that are easily validated upon arrival in India.

Though not commenting on potential visa-free travel, Jaishankar added, “I would actually suggest in a way that the current system may be better.”

Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who attended the reception alongside Minister Jaishankar, made it clear that the Irfaan Ali-led administration is working towards easier travel between India and Guyana, and other countries.

Shortly before the reception, at a commissioning ceremony held in Georgetown, President Dr. Irfaan Ali made a subtle call for easier travel to and from Guyana not just with India but other countries.

“We have to resolve the difficulties in flights coming here, removing, as much as possible, hurdles.

“In this modern world there (are) enough global safeguards for us to ensure the efficient, safe movement of people among countries,” Dr. Ali said in the presence of Minister Jaishankar and several other diplomats.

The United Kingdom (UK) last year implemented visa-free travel from Guyana. Efforts are underway to broker a similar agreement with Canada.

Importantly, an Air Services Agreement (ASA), which allows for easier travel between the two nations, was inked during Minister Jaishankar’s visit.

This agreement reportedly opens investment opportunities and caters for Guyanese owned airlines to have direct market access to international airports in India and vice versa.

Presently there is no direct flight between Guyana and India but a press release from Guyana’s Ministry of Public Works explained that this agreement institutes the legal framework that opens market access for airlines of both states to operate and enhance competitive air transport services, trade, and economic growth between the two countries.