Building Air Connectivity With Commonwealth Independent Nations: Minister

Building Air Connectivity With Commonwealth Independent Nations: Minister
New Delhi:

The Centre will concentrate on building air connectivity between India and countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States as the world slowly comes out of the coronavirus pandemic, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) includes Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

"I think this is the right time for the relationship between the CIS countries and India to take off. I think India is standing ready to cooperate, invest and build. We look forward to growing our relationship, both on the ground as well as up in the air," Mr Scindia said at an event titled 'Future of India-CIS Silk Route Partnerships'' organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in Delhi.

He also noted that the flying time between Delhi and most of the CIS countries is many times shorter than the flying time between Delhi to any state in India.

For example, the flying time between Delhi and Bishkek is close to about two hours and the flying time between Delhi and Dushanbe is approximately two-and-half hours, the minister stated.

"In many ways, you are much closer to us than many of our countrymen. So there is no reason for us to not take advantage of that," he said.

The aviation minister added that India already has air service agreements with most of the CIS countries even during the pandemic period.


Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, special flights have been operating since July last year under bilateral "air bubble" arrangements between India and approximately 28 countries.

"As we slowly come out of this pandemic across the world, and I believe we are in that process, I am going to concentrate a lot upon building our air connectivity to CIS countries through our airlines and programmes such as UDAN, which takes people across countries and states at a very nominal cost," Mr Scindia mentioned.


"We will expand our freight corridors. Concentrating on cargo and air freight is extremely important as well," he added.

The minister said robust air connectivity is fundamental in today''s day and age.


"Not only because it saves cost and time, but also because it is a huge economic multiplier," he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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