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With several Covid-19 relaxations coming into play as cases see a decline across countries, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on Sunday said he is delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the two countries, under which no visa will be required for Maldivians travelling to India.

The 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the Maldives and India was temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 border closure.

Taking to Twitter, Shahid informed that from mid-October the Maldivian nationals will be exempt from visa requirements for tourists, medical and business purposes.

"Delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the Maldives & India, which was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 border closure. From 15 Oct 2021, Maldivian Nationals will be exempt of visa requirements for tourists, medical & business purposes," Shahid tweeted.

He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for considering the request to resume the agreement.

"Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi and EAM @DrSJaishankar for the favourable consideration of the request," he wrote in a subsequent tweet.

The High Commission of India in the Maldives also took Twitter and said that no visa will be required from mid-October for Maldivians travelling to India.

"NO VISA required from Oct 15 for Maldivians travelling to India for Medical, Business & Tourism purposes. Maldives will be the 1st beneficiary of VISA FREE TRAVEL since COVID restrictions were imposed by India in Mar 2020. This move restores the bilateral visa-free agreement of Dec 2018," the High Commission of India in the Maldives tweeted.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Central government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Maldives has been open -- with some suspensions -- for tourists since July 2020. Sri Lanka opened to fully vaccinated tourists last month.

Meanwhile, Indian government recently announced that it will re-open for tourists from October 15 after being closed for more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourist visas will be granted for foreigners arriving on charter flights from October 15, and on other flights from November 15, the home ministry said in a statement.

It stressed that all Covid-19 protocols "should be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations".

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