US aviation firms asked to set up bases in India

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington: India has asked US aviation companies to think of establishing manufacturing bases and investing in aviation infrastructure like airports in India for a long-term commitment.

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Visiting Indian Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel told senior US officials like Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday that Washington should also explore the possibility of liberalising the export control regime.

Locke and LaHood told Patel that US companies were very impressed with the growth displayed by India’s aviation sector and were keen to contribute to the growth, according to an Indian embassy press release. In response, Patel said these companies needed to “show a long-term commitment beyond just exporting to India” and should seriously “explore the possibility of establishing manufacturing bases and investing in aviation infrastructure like airports”.

At meetings with Locke, LaHood and Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt, both sides acknowledged the positive role of aviation in improving connectivity between the two countries, since the signing of the Open Skies Agreement in 2005.

The civil aviation sector has emerged as the fastest growing component of bilateral trade, accounting for about 15 percent of US exports to India. Patel invited both the secretaries to visit India to see the numerous opportunities that India offered for mutually beneficial partnerships in general and in aviation, in particular.

Addressing a luncheon round table at the US Chamber of Commerce where a large number of the major US companies engaged in aviation-related activities were present, Patel gave them an update on recent developments and encouraged them to deepen their technological collaboration with India.

Patel later addressed a 200-strong gathering of US government officials, US business representatives, NRIs, and Indian-Americans at the celebration “Air India’s Capital to Capital Connectivity: Bringing Washington and Delhi Closer”.

The cultural reception was organised by the US India Business Council with a few partners to publicise the new Air India link between Washington DC and New Delhi that commenced Dec 1. It provides the only single-plane link between the two capitals.