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PM Modi not to fly over Pakistan while travelling to Bishkek for SCO meet

India requested Pakistan to let Modi's aircraft fly over its airspace when he travels to Bishkek. Pakistan accorded an "in principle" approval to India's request.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 13, 2019, 08.49 AM IST
India's air snub to Pakistan: PM Modi's plane won't use its airspace
India's air snub to Pakistan: PM Modi's plane won't use its airspace
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special aircraft will not fly over Pakistan on its way to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit that starts on Thursday, in what is being viewed as a snub to Islamabad and its efforts to restart dialogue without taking adequate action against terror infrastructure.

This decision was announced after reports suggested that the Pak government had “decided in principle” to allow Modi’s plane to fly over its airspace. This is the first time that Modi’s special flight is taking a detour for a trip abroad due to the closure of airspace.

“The government of India had explored two options for the route to be taken by the VVIP aircraft to Bishkek. A decision has now been taken that the VVIP aircraft will fly via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries on the way to Bishkek,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

Flying through Pakistan is the shortest route to Bishkek. Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26 after Indian Air Force jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two of 11 routes, both through southern Pakistan, reportedly under pressure from UAE-based airlines which take these routes.

News agency PTI reported that India had requested Pakistan to let PM Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace on its way to Bishkek for the twoday SCO Summit.

Pakistan had decided to allow it, PTI reported on Monday, citing an unnamed official as saying that the Imran Khan government had “approved in principle” the Indian government’s request.
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