`Issue of direct flights between India-Aus to be taken up`
Melbourne: The issue of direct flight connectivity between India and Australia, a long-pending demand of the Indian diaspora here, will be raised with the government, an Indian Minister has said.
"I am aware that there is a need for direct flight between the two nations and I am going to raise this with the Indian government," Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, said.
Shukla who is leading a delegation of Indian Parliamentarians to Australia made the comments at a gathering of Indian community here last night.
Direct flights from India to Australia were slated to begin by September last year.
Both Melbourne and Sydney, which have been competing for the exclusive right to have the planes land at their airports, were expected to see Air India tails on their runways.
Tourism, trade and business between the two countries has been booming, demanding increase in air connectivity. There is also a large number of Indians living, working and studying in Australia.
Earlier last year, Australia`s former high commissioner to India, Peter Varghese had said direct flights were also a priority from Australian governments.
Shukla said that the Australia and India relations were gaining momentum specially after Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s last visit to India.
"After the visit of Australian prime minister, the relations have improved," the minister said, adding that Indian diaspora has been working towards improving the ties as well.
There is a large scope to develop trade links as well with Australia as the trade with India for Australia is worth USD 21 billion dollars, he said.
Shukla is leading a goodwill delegation comprising several parliamentarians.
He will be heading to Sydney and Canberra after his trip to Melbourne and Perth.