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Ireland offers a hub to Air India in Dublin

Ireland has offered to provide a hub to Air India in Dublin, India's Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khursheed has said.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2010 22:36 IST

Ireland has offered to provide a hub to Air India in Dublin, India's Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khursheed has said.

Air India has been scouting for an airport in Europe that is cheaper to operate than its current hub in Frankfurt, Germany.

Khursheed, who was on his way back home after attending a memorial service in Dublin to mourn the death of 329 people aboard an Air India trans-Atlantic flight that was blown up by terrorists 25 years ago, told newsmen in an informal chat that Ireland is setting up a new terminal in Dublin and they are keen that Air India shift its hub from Frankfurt to Dublin for one-stop flights between India and the US.

"They (Ireland) are also offering transit visas," he said.

Besides Khursheed, Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin and Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also attended the annual memorial service held at the Sheep's Head peninsula on Ireland's West Cork coast on Wednesday.

The Montreal-New Delhi Air India Kanishka flight was flying via Toronto and London when it exploded in mid-air about an hour before its scheduled landing at London's Heathrow Airport. All 329 people onboard were killed.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had apologised to families of the Kanishka victims at a memorial service for the victims at the Air India Memorial at Humber Bay Park, Toronto.

Khursheed said he also held discussions with Jason Kenney and Michael Martin.

"I was reassured by the position taken by the Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on the recent episode of refusal of visa to some former BSF personnel. Expressing regret, he said in no way it should be seen as reflection on how highly they held our democratic institutions," he said.

Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin, a good friend of India, said he was looking forward to his visit to India. He is keen to promote Ireland as a tourist destination for Indians.

Answering questions on the Bhopal Gas tragedy and the demand for extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, Khursheed said the Group of Ministers was seized of the matter.

"Today, there is a huge demand that the gas victims must get more compensation and Anderson must be extradited. We have agreed that there will have to be another compensation and the CBI will prepare documents for fresh extradition request to be sent before July 31," he said.

Khursheed also told reporters, "A new company law bill is before Parliament and and hopefully it will be passed in the Winter session of Parliament and definitely by the next Budget."