At a time like this, a travel bubble would be unwise, and could put lives at risk
With over 5.4 million confirmed cases, and over 86,000 deaths and counting, India could soon overtake the United States in Covid-19 numbers. Furthermore, due to underreporting, it could very well be that the pandemic scenario in our neighbouring country is grimmer than the picture painted by these statistics.
This does not bode well for Bangladesh. We have always had strong relations with India, leading to a heavy amount of travel between the two nations. Bangladeshis go to India in droves for health care, tourism, business, and numerous other reasons, but needless to say, the pandemic has crippled international travel all over the world, and this region is no different.
Now, however, India has sent a travel bubble proposal with Bangladesh. The proposal from India’s Ministry of External Affairs suggests the operation of five airlines on 16 routes a week, from Dhaka and Chittagong to four of India’s key cities -- New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai.
But the simple fact is, at a time like this, a travel bubble would be unwise, and could put lives at risk. This issue should not be politicized further, with justifications citing our deep ties with India brought up -- the priority right now is to bring the pandemic under control, and a travel bubble with India could undo all progress.
The fundamental idea behind a travel bubble is not a bad one, but it only makes sense between two countries that are in similar situations, and have a good handle on the spread of Covid-19. With all due respect to our neighbour, a travel bubble at this point in time would defeat the purpose.