Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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The Aerial Route

India may be striving hard for land connectivity with the doubly land-locked Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in its extended neighbourhood but air connectivity to these countries is thriving. All these countries—barely two to two-and-half hours away by air—have regular flights to not just New Delhi but Amritsar as well. Their airlines have cheaper fares compared to many others and are preferred by many Indians flying from Amritsar to London. This was just one of the nuggets we gathered at a seminar on ‘India-Central Asia: Traditional Ties and Development Partnership’ organised by the Research and Information Systems (RIS) on Thursday. Another interesting bit of information emerging at the conference when it comes to travel to Uzbekistan, the land of the historical cities of Samarkand so synonymous with the ancient Silk Road and Bukhara, was regarding visas. Uzbekistan has begun offering e-visas to Indians. Not just this, in order to woo Indian travellers, it has introduced a five-day transit visa for passengers travelling onwards via Tashkent.