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For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

The US Transportation Department on Monday accused the Indian government of engaging in "unfair and discriminatory practices" on charter air transportation services to and from India and issued an order requiring Indian air carriers to apply for authorization prior to conducting charter flights.

The order will allow US officials "to scrutinize charter flights by Indian carriers on a case-by-case basis."

The department said it "seeks to restore a level playing field for US airlines" under the US-India Air Transport Agreement.

The Indian government, citing the coronavirus, has banned all scheduled services and failed to approve US carriers for charter operations, the department said.