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Increase two-way air connectivity between India and US: Raju

Bengaluru :Observing that more Indian aircraft are flying into the US than theirs into India, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today called for increased two-way connectivity between the countries.“I’m happy that flights have increased from India to America and probably I think there are more Indian aircraft flying into America than American aircraft flying into India,” Raju said.

“… so we like it to be two-way traffic, so that more Indians can go to United States and more citizens of United States can come to India, and this will impact our economy in a lot of way,” he said.

Raju was speaking at the inauguration of the fifth US-India Aviation Summit here that was attended by US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and US Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) Director Leocadia I Zak, among others.

The USTDA is co-hosting this biennial event with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which will bring together public and private sector officials to advance the aviation partnership between India and the US.

Stating that the Government of India is committed to regional connectivity, Raju said, “so in that sense the policy we are releasing is going to be looking at that, it is going to be encouraging that.”

Raju also said in general terms Government of India is interested in skill development, “which is extremely important as we are one of the youngest nations in the world.”

Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is interested inbringing down the carbon footprint in the country, he said, “I think aviation is one of the most polluting activities in the world. So we need to address that.”

Pointing at Kochin Airport going completely solar as a success story, Raju said if all the stakeholders work together, the result will be reduction in carbon footprint.

“We are taking inspiration from that; we are trying to get our Airport Authority also to not only conserve energy, but also generate energy through solar… “

“Like this we are looking forward to ideas coming from everywhere which we can all work with and harness the potential of aviation to serve the country, it will of course have multiplier effect,” he added.