Indian traders in east China’s Zhejiang province have welcomed a charter flight that arrived with 107 Indian businessmen in the provincial capital Hangzhou, the first passenger flight between India and China in over two years amidst Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Beijing.
A large gathering of Indian traders based in Yiwu in Zhejiang province, the world’s largest commodity hub, greeted the passengers at the airport with banners in English and Chinese celebrating the flight’s arrival on Tuesday.
Flights between China and India remained suspended for over 2 years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors.
Indian companies warmly welcomed the charter flights, with many hoping for normal business flights between the two countries, the state-run Global Times reported.
After a 10-day quarantine, which requires seven days of concentrated quarantine in a dedicated place and three days of self-quarantine at home, those Indian businessmen will head for Zhejiang’s Yiwu, the report said.
India is Yiwu’s second-largest export destination with traders shipping goods worth billions of dollars. The arrival of this charter flight marked the re-opening of the door for Indian merchants to return to Yiwu for procurement, it said. More than 2,000 Indian merchants reside in Yiwu during the peak period, it said.
After over two years, China recently started issuing visas for stranded family members of Indians working in the country but most of them struggled to travel to Chinese cities as there are no direct flights between the two countries.
Most of those who managed to travel to China flew through third-country routes like Nepal and Sri Lanka paying heavy ticket fares.
Officials of both the countries say talks were on between the two countries to resume direct flights.
China on Tuesday said it was “confident” that the first batch of Indian students stuck back home due to the Covid-19 visa restrictions here would return in the “near future”, raising hopes for thousands of students waiting to re-join their colleges in this country.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.