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Civil Aviation Minister Patel and US Transportation Secretary Mineta launch talks for new Bilateral Air Services Agreement

Washington, DC
January 13, 2005

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Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation Mr. Praful Patel met today with US Secretary of Transportation Mr. Norman Mineta in Washington D.C. to launch a fresh round of talks aimed at finalizing a new, more liberal Air Services Agreement between India and the United States. The hour-long meeting was held in a cordial and cooperative atmosphere. Agreeing that the existing Air Services Agreement, which was concluded about fifty years ago, did not meet the current requirements of the two countries, both sides adopted a positive and forward-looking approach and hope to finalize a new Agreement soon.

Minister Patel also outlined the steps taken by the Government of India to encourage the rapid growth of the civil aviation sector in the country. He briefed Secretary Mineta on the modernization and upgradation of Mumbai and New Delhi airports, which was being undertaken through public-private partnership. Green-field airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore were also discussed, as were the acquisition plans of India’s public sector airlines. In this background, Minister Patel stated that there was much scope for cooperation between India and the United States.

Minister Patel thanked Secretary Mineta for the sympathy expressed for tsunami victims in India and said that the Indian people took solace from this warm gesture.

Minister Patel invited Secretary Mineta to visit India at an early date. Dates for the visit will be finalized through diplomatic channels.