"It is worth considering whether we can work with countries that are in the BIMSTEC to see whether we can create a policy package that will enable us to connect smaller towns across the entire BIMSTEC region," Jayant Sinha, India's Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said in New Delhi
The proposal has not been formally offered to BIMSTEC but Sinha suggested an agreement with various countries to provide financial aid to roll out the scheme. "We can sign a MoU with different countries to be able to provide support for an UDAN-type scheme across the BIMSTEC community. Of course, we will have to couple that with something like an Open Sky Agreement so that airlines can fly freely."
India will conduct the first-ever international conclave on BIMSTEC from November 2 to 4, 2017, in Guwahati under the overarching theme of ‘BIMSTEC: An Enabling Architecture for Growth, Prosperity and Partnerships'. India is already developing railways and roadways network to reach out to countries in Southeast Asia. India has already planned a Southeast Asian connectivity project connecting Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar in 2002, years ahead of China's One Belt, One Road.
BIMSTEC had identified 14 keys sectors for cooperation and India would lead the group in transportation & communication, tourism, environment and disaster management, and counter-terrorism and transnational crime.