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If Pak Closes Airspace for India, Will Devise System to Deal With It, Says Hardeep Puri

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri's comments came after Pakistan Foreign Office's Spokesperson told media in Islamabad that they could order the closure of the country's airspace for India 'at a time of its choosing'.


Updated:August 29, 2019, 8:56 PM IST
If Pak Closes Airspace for India, Will Devise System to Deal With It, Says Hardeep Puri
File photo of Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri (image: PTI)

New Delhi: With Pakistan considering shutting down its airspace for India, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said here on Thursday that India was subjected to "that experience" recently and will put in place systems to deal with any challenge.

He, however, said he does not want to anticipate developments in this regard.

Puri's comments came after Pakistan Foreign Office's Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told media in Islamabad earlier in the day that they could order the closure of the country's airspace for India "at a time of its choosing". He, however, added that no decision was taken so far.

Puri said in New Delhi, "Every country will take its own measures...We were subjected to that experience recently and we will put in place systems and measures designed to deal with the issues and challenges."

Pakistan has already closed (from August 28 till August 31) three aviation routes in the Karachi airspace, the country's civil aviation authority said on Wednesday, after their government's announcement that it was mulling a complete ban on Indian flights using its airspace.

However, the closure of these routes has not affected the operations of Indian airline companies.

Addressing a press conference post a media workshop here, Puri also said on Thursday, "I see all kinds of statements coming out from different parts of commentators, people, etc. All I can tell you is that the secretary and I keep discussing these issues. We do not want to anticipate developments, and that would also not be correct."

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot.

By the time it opened its airspace on July 16, Air India had suffered losses of around Rs 500 crore as it had to reroute many of its flights from Delhi to US and Europe.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that no decision has been arrived at yet to close the airspace for India and any such step would be taken after looking into each and every aspect of the move through consultation.

However, Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry had on Tuesday announced on Twitter that the government was considering complete closure of airspace to India and ban on use of Pakistan land routes for Indian trade to Afghanistan.

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