"India is a very big country. It has a huge trade relationship with the US, particularly for IT, has huge agricultural trade between the two countries," chief executive of Delta Airlines Richard Anderson told reporters on Sunday during a luncheon meeting at the National Press Club.

"But in essence we don't really have any aviation trade. We have exited the market completely," Anderson said. "Because essentially what these carriers have done is with subsidised government strategies, come into the marketplace to basically shift the traffic off of us and take us out of the Indian market," he said.

"And think about it. US flag carriers ought to be in the Indian market. American and Delta should be in the Indian market. But it's not sustainable when you have that. When you have USD 41 billion worth of subsidy it's very difficult, if not impossible for us to be able to compete. And that harm is immediate," he added.

Anderson said a recent white paper by the American airlines industry has proved beyond doubt the subsidies provided by several governments like that of India.

"I mean those countries all required these airlines to file their financial statements. Oddly enough, in the US we don't require that. But other countries do," he said.

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