Defence ministry to discuss aviation | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Defence ministry to discuss aviation

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2007 17:32 IST

The defence ministry will voice its concerns over the new civil aviation policy to the Group of Ministers set up for wider consultations on several issues, including releasing airspace under the IAF's control for the movement of civilian aircraft.

"Whenever there is a policy, there are various concerns and government has a mechanism to address them," Defence Minister AK Antony said on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi last night.

The defence ministry has raised several objections to the civil aviation policy, including a move to release airspace meant exclusively for the Indian Air Force.

The ministry has noted in its reservations that the policy needs to be re-framed and formulated as a national aviation policy by incorporating its views as well as those of the IAF, official sources said.

The IAF has been advocating flexible use of airspace, which is a national asset, and has underlined the need to protect airspace for reasons of national security, they said.

Antony also said there is a need to address all concerns before making any policy. "We will put our concerns before the Group of Ministers for this purpose," he said.

The Union Cabinet had on June 15 referred the civil aviation policy, called Vision-2020, to the GoM as it was felt that several proposals in the policy need to be further discussed.

The civil aviation ministry, while responding to the defence ministry's concerns, said civil airspace management across the world was mostly vested with civil authorities for safe and efficient air traffic services.

These services are maintained in tandem with the laid-down norms of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which have provisions for coordination with military authorities.

The IAF operates from 56 airports whose airspace accounts for more than half the country's total airspace. But the draft policy does not recognise this and negates the IAF's stake in matters of policy formulation, the sources said.

This is a major concern for the defence ministry as it does not want to lose control over some strategic airports like those in Srinagar, Pune and Goa, which are important for the operations of the IAF and the navy.