India is all set to give Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich nation a 40% hike in foreign flying rights regime quota from April 1. With this, Saudi Arabia is set to become the biggest and only beneficiary of India’s tightly managed foreign flying rights policy.
The move, which follows the India visit of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman last month, will make Saudi Arabia the only country within a 5,000-km flying distance from India to have its quota increased by the Narendra Modi-led government. Requests for an increase in flying rights by others like Dubai, Qatar, China, Singapore and Malaysia, among others, have been rejected, reported The Economic Times.
During the crown prince’s visit, Saudi Arabia had announced plans to invest $100 billion in India’s infrastructure sector. At the recent Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meet, the kingdom also backed India against Pakistan.
It is also believed that Saudi Arabia played a key role in defusing tensions between Indo-Pak relations and ensuring the return of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, whose aircraft was shot down across the LoC.