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PM Modi Won't Fly Over Pakistan on Way to Bishkek for SCO Summit, Chooses Oman Route Instead

India had requested Pakistan to let PM Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek and the Imran Khan government too had approved in principle.

News18.com

Updated:June 12, 2019, 2:50 PM IST
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PM Modi Won't Fly Over Pakistan on Way to Bishkek for SCO Summit, Chooses Oman Route Instead
File photo of PM Narendra Modi. (Reuters)

Just two days after Pakistan decided in principle to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the ministry of external affairs said there had been a change in plans.

The Prime Minister will now fly via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries on way to Bishkek, the MEA said.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.

India had requested Pakistan to let PM Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek and the Imran Khan government too had approved in principle.

“The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently,” an official had said, adding that Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.

Khan had recently written a letter to his Indian counterpart stressing that Pakistan required a solution for all geopolitical issues, including Kashmir, between the two neighbouring states.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in New Delhi said no bilateral meeting has been arranged between Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

Pakistan had given special permission to India's then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' meet in Bishkek on May 21. Apart from the two routes through southern Pakistan, the neighbouring country's airspace remains closed for commercial airliners.

The IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates and opens its complete airspace.

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