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Need to focus more on air connectivity between India, ASEAN countries: Sonowal

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NEW DELHI : There is a need to focus more on air connectivity between India and ASEAN nations to enhance tourism in unexplored areas of the region, Union Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal said on Tuesday.

The Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways also highlighted the need to speed up the regional connectivity project with ASEAN countries to give boost to the bilateral trade.

“We need to focus on greater air connectivity to enhance tourism in unexplored areas of ASEAN countries,” the minister said.

He was speaking at Ficci”s Future of India-ASEAN Connectivity partnership conference.

“In addition to these we are also looking at early review of the agreement which will help achieve the true trade potential between the two sides,” Sonowal said.

The review is expected to include issues such as customs procedure, change of data and further liberalisation of trade.

The minister further said that out of the 10 ASEAN countries, only five — Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand — have direct flight with India and vice versa. Other five countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines have no direct flight.

Indonesia and the Philippines are two prominent countries with which India has substantial business and tourism interest, he explained.

“We firmly believe that transformation is only possible through transition and if it is to be done then connectivity and communication are must,” he added.

Establishing connectivity will enable people-to-people connectivity through cooperation in business and tourism.

The minister noted that flow of ASEAN passengers to India is much lower than that of Indian passengers to ASEAN countries or transit through ASEAN.

Source : Financial Express

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