A Vietnamese trade delegation on Monday requested airlines in India to start a direct flight between Hanoi and Kolkata. The delegation was led by Pham Trung Nghia, deputy director general of South West Asia and Africa Market Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam.

“We need to have a direct flight to India to broaden bilateral trade opportunities between the two countries. We would recommend (to Indian authorities) a direct flight between Hanoi and Kolkata,” Nghia told reporters on the sidelines of an interactive session on Indo-Vietnam bilateral trade organised by the city-based Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

The issue may also feature at the forthcoming meeting between the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung on December 20.

However, sources at a prominent private Indian airline pointed out that a Hanoi-Kolkata flight might not prove viable.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country invited Indian investments in consumer goods sector. Nghia added that his government has been encouraging the Vietnamese traders to open representative offices in India and understand the market here.

Two-way trade between India and Vietnam is expected to be worth $7 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) by 2015. In 2011, bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $3.9 billion.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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