Laying rest to a lot of speculations dominating the social media in the last couple of days the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had confirmed that there were yet no talks between the two countries on a possible air travel bubble. 

The Indian Weekender had approached the office of the MFAT for a comment following a tweet by India's Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri yesterday which said that India was in talks with 13 countries for expanding their global air travel arrangements, which included New Zealand. 

Mr Suri had tweeted. "We continue to further strengthen the reach and the scope of Vande Bharat Mission. Air Travel arrangements are already in place with the USA, UK, France, Germany, UAE, Qatar & Maldives. 

"We are now taking these efforts forward & are negotiating with 13 more countries to establish such arrangements." 

Responding to the Indian Weekender's enquiry, an official spokesperson of the MFAT said, "New Zealand has been working closely with India since the outbreak of COVID-19 to support repatriation flights in both directions.

 "We are aware of a recent Indian Government announcement about establishing air bubbles with a range of countries, including possibly with New Zealand. There have not been any discussions to date on the possibility of an air bubble with India," the spokesperson said. 

This news will expectedly shatter hopes for a large number of people who are currently stranded in both countries amidst global travel restrictions and limited travel opportunities and are keen to travel between the two countries. 

India has been working aggressively in expanding air travel arrangements along with operationalizing the world's biggest repatriation mission - Vande Bharat Mission. 

New Zealand, on the other hand, had been following one of the world's stringent elimination strategies for managing Covid-19 health pandemic and progressing very carefully in forming any air travel bubbles, including a Trans Tasman bubble. 

However, the fact that the two governments (New Zealand and India) continues to engage closely, including on facilitating maximum possible travel of stranded people between the two countries augurs well for any talks at the official level for any possible future air travel bubble between the two countries.