Consultations between Russia and India on a bilateral agreement to ease travel will begin in June, a Russian minister has said, adding that Moscow and New Delhi were set to strengthen their tourism ties by launching visa-free group tourist exchanges. “India is at the final stage of internal state coordination,” Nikita Kondratyev, director of the Russian Economic Development Ministry’s Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, was quoted by RT News as saying on Wednesday.

The minister at the sidelines of the International Economic Forum “Russia – Islamic World: KazanForum 2024” in Kazan said the first discussion on a draft agreement was scheduled to take place in June, and a signing was expected by the end of the year.

“Russia and India are set to strengthen their tourism ties as they gear up for the launch of visa-free group tourist exchanges. The first round of consultations between the two nations is scheduled for June, with an aim to finalise a bilateral agreement by the end of the year,” the minister said.

Kondratyev said Russia planned to replicate the success of visa-free tourist exchanges already established with China and Iran.

Russia and China initiated their visa-free group tourist exchange on August 1 last year.

China allows visa-free entry for overseas groups on cruise ships

Tour groups can enter China from 13 ports including Shanghai, Qingdao, Dalian and Haikou, Mao Xu, a senior official with the immigration administration, said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Qualifying tour groups need to be received and handled by domestic travel agencies and will be allowed to travel to coastal provinces as well as the capital, Beijing, while they are in China, Mao said.

Similarly, a visa-free group tourist exchange between Russia and Iran commenced on the same date, ushering in a new era of tourism cooperation.

  • Published On May 17, 2024 at 03:36 PM IST

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