Indian carrier Jet Airways has unveiled plans to launch a new service linking Manchester and Mumbai.
Mr Cowan said: "Securing a direct service to one of India's major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy".
News of the service marks an early success for the Manchester-India Partnership, established earlier this year with the aim of furthering economic and cultural collaboration between the two countries.
The launch of the first direct flight between Manchester Mumbai is set to strengthen connections between India's economic capital and the Northern Powerhouse, according to global trade secretary Dr Liam Fox. The flight will operate four days a week - Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - using Jet's 254-seater Airbus A-330. Direct connectivity to the world's most important markets is key to creating a prosperous and internationally competitive Northern economy, and a balanced and outward facing UK.
Tim Newns, chief executive officer, MIDAS, Manchester's inward investment agency, said; "As one of the founding members of the Manchester-India Partnership (MIP), along with Manchester Airport, one of the key deliverables was to secure a direct flight to India and so we are delighted to have supported the airport in achieving this key building block".
The service, which will go live ahead of the annual Diwali festival, will improve access to one of the world's fastest-growing economies to business and leisure passengers, as well as opening-up the North to millions of Indian tourists.
Manchester will become the 21st global addition to Jet Airways' network and with the introduction of this new flight - the carrier's fifth non-stop service to/from the UK.
Flights will depart Mumbai at 02:30 (local time) and arrive in Manchester at 07:55 (local time).
"Both the cities are vibrant commercial hubs and a direct flight will not only promote tourism but also enhance our multifaceted engagement. It will encourage Indian companies to explore the Northern Powerhouse for the establishment and expansion of their footprint in the region".
"Similarly, quick connections to beyond points on Jet Airways' worldwide network such as Bangkok, Colombo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dhaka and Kathmandu, will now be available", it added. They can also connect onwards to other destinations in the SAARC and ASEAN region including Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The new flight will enhance Jet Airways' cargo capacity by 15 tons from India to United Kingdom and open a 2nd destination in the United Kingdom to shippers and exporters and manufacturers from India.
Indian airline Jet Airways is launching the North of England's first direct service to Mumbai.