21 August 2020, New Delhi: Mr Manish Prabhat, Joint Secretary (ERS), Ministry of External Affairs today said, “The combined annual trade with Central Asia is less than US$ 2 billion. The level of trade does not reflect our political will that we enjoy with Central Asian countries.”
Addressinga webinar ‘The Way Forward for Developing India-Central Asia Air Corridor’, organized by FICCI, Mr Prabhat added that India is at an advanced stage of negotiation with Uzbekistan for export & import of agricultural products.
Mr Prabhat Kumar, Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan,said that Central Asian countries are in the position to support air traffic from India. He further laid emphasis on the potential of markets between India and Kazakhstan.
Ms Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt of India said thatestablishing an air corridor will be very useful in passenger growth and goods traffic. “Central Asian countries need to look at ways to ease regulation of our carriers in terms of landing rights, parking etc.,” she added.
Ms Aggarwal also highlighted that India has been looking at digitization of documents for seamless connectivity with the region.
Ms Karlygash Omurbayeva, Regional General Manager, Gulf and Indian Subcontinent, Air Astana,proposed air bubble agreements with Kazakhstan. She said that Air Astana has started flights to a few European countries during this pandemic and hoped India will be amongst those first group of countries to join them.
Mr Sanjiv Edward, Chief Commercial Officer, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL),emphasized on the use of Information Technology for air corridors. “Paperless transactions for business have become all the more relevant in these challenging times”, he said.
Mr Vipin Vohra, Airfreight Convenor, Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI); Chairman of Continental Carriers Group of Companies and Chairman, TNX Continental Pvt. Ltd.,spoke on the need to inter align with airlines and establish bilateral agreements between Indian and Central Asian airlines to enhance air connectivity.