Though India's combined annual trade with Central Asia is less than USD 2 billion, the level of trade does not reflect the political will that the country enjoys with Central Asian countries, said Msh Prabhat, Joint Secretary (ERS), Ministry of External Affairs.
Speaking at a webinar titled 'The Way Forward for Developing India-Central Asia Air Corridor', orgsed by FICCI held on Friday, he said, "The combined annual trade with Central Asia is less than USD 2 billion. The level of trade does not reflect the political will that we enjoy with Central Asian countries."
Prabhat, who was recently appointed as Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan, further said that India is at an advanced stage of negotiation with Uzbekistan for export and import of agricultural products.
Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Prabhat Kumar 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.
Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said that establishing 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 said.
She also said that India has been looking at the digitisation of documents for seamless connectivity with the region.
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.
Speaking on the need for paperless transactions amid the COVID-19, Sanjiv Edward, Chief Commercial Officer, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), said, "Paperless transactions for business have become all the more relevant in these challenging times."
Vipin Vohra, Airfreight Convenor, Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI); Chairman of Continental Carriers Group of Compes 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.
( With inputs from ANI )
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