India-UAE: Open Skies Agreement


  • Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is keen to have an open sky agreement with India.

Bilateral agreement

  • There are about 1,068 flights a week between India and the UAE operated by the airlines of the two countries under the bilateral Air Service Agreement.
  • India has an open skies policy with SAARC countries and those beyond the 5,000-km radius, which implies that nations within this distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.

Back to Basics

About Open Sky Agreement

  • Open Sky Agreements are bilateral agreements that the two countries negotiate to provide rights for airlines to offer international passenger and cargo services.
  • It expands international passenger and cargo flights.
  • India has Air Service Agreements (ASA) with 109 countries including UAE.
  • But India does not allow unlimited number of flights between two countries.
  • Open skies between India and UAE will allow unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.

The Open Skies Treaty

  • Signed March 24, 1992, the Open Skies Treaty permits each state-party to conduct short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
  • Observation aircraft used to fly the missions must be equipped with sensors that enable the observing party to identify significant military equipment, such as artillery, fighter aircraft, and armored combat vehicles.
  • Though satellites can provide the same, and even more detailed, information, not all of the 34 treaty states-parties1have such capabilities. 
  • The treaty is also aimed at building confidence and familiarity among states-parties through their participation in the overflights.
  • The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently 34 states are party to the treaty while a 35th, Kyrgyzstan, has signed but not ratified it.
  • This treaty is not related to civil-aviation open skies agreements.

Source: The Hindu

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