Ministry of External Affair’s Joint Secretary (ERS), Manish Prabhat, on August 21 reportedly said that India is at an advanced stage of negotiations with Uzbekistan for import and export of agricultural products. While speaking at a webinar titled ‘The Way Forward for Developing India-Central Asia Air Corridor, organised by FCCI, Prabhat noted that even though India’s combined annual trade with Central Asia is less than $2 billion, the level of trade does not reflect the political will that the country enjoys with Central Asian countries.
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Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Prabhat Kumar emphasised on the potential of markets between Kazakstan and India and reportedly said that Central Asian countries are in the position to support air traffic from India. Further, at the same webinar session, Vandana Aggarwal, who is a Senior Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said that establishing an air corridor will be very useful in passenger growth and goods traffic.
Aggarwal added that Central Asian countries need to look at ways to ease regulations of our country’s carriers in terms of landing rights, parking and etcetera. She also informed that India has been looking at the digitisation of documents for seamless connectivity with the region.
Speaking about the need for paperless transactions, Sanjiv Edward, who is the Chief Commercial Officer at the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) added, “Paperless transactions for business have become all the more relevant in these challenging times”.
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India needs bilateral agreements to enhance air connectivity
Meanwhile, Karlygash Omurbayeva, Regional General Manager of Gulf and Indian Subcontinent, Air Astana, reportedly proposed air bubble agreements with Kazakhstan. Speaking at the webinar, she said that Air Astana has started flights to a few European countries amid the unprecedented pandemic. She further hoped that India will also be amongst those first group of countries to join them.
Furthermore, Airfreight Convenor at the Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI); Chairman of Continental Carriers Group of Companies and Chairman, TNX Continental Pvt. Ltd, Vipin Vohra reportedly spoke on the need to inter align with airlines and establish bilateral agreements between India and Central Asian airlines in a bid to enhance air connectivity.
(Inputs ANI; Image: @ficci_india/Twitter)
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