News ID: 254189
Published: 0518 GMT June 12, 2019

Indian premier's flight to regional summit will detour around Pakistan airspace

Indian premier's flight to regional summit will detour around Pakistan airspace

Indian authorities say Prime Minister Narendra Modi will avoid flying over Pakistan during an official trip to central Asia, despite being granted permission by Islamabad to use its airspace.

While Pakistan had already approved “in principle” a shorter flight path for the official plane to pass over its territory, India withdrew its request on Wednesday, announcing that it had decided to go with its plan B.

The Indian Foreign Ministry said the prime minister would take the longer passage to the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan instead of the direct route over Pakistan on Thursday, Presstv Reported.

“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,” it said.

Pakistan had granted overflight access and cleared Modi’s flight to the Khazkh capital to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit (SCO).

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will also be attending the regional meeting scheduled to be held on June 13-14.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar earlier said no "bilateral meeting" between Modi and Khan was being planned on the sidelines of the summit.

Both leaders exchanged warm words following Modi's landslide re-election last month. Tensions have calmed since, with Khan saying in April that a Modi win at the polls could help settle the showdown over Kashmir.

New Delhi has suspended bilateral dialogue with Islamabad since 2016 over its alleged support for militant groups in the disputed region.

Relations nosedived in February when over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in a bomb attack in Kashmir.

The Indian military conducted airstrikes inside Pakistan later in February against what was said to be a militant training camp belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.

Pakistan retaliated and shot down an Indian fighter jet that it said had violated its airspace. It also captured an Indian pilot during that operation, but released him shortly in a “peace gesture.”

Pakistan closed its airspace and several airports in India were also shut down after claims of shooting down of each other’s fighter jets on Feb. 27. Pakistan announced last month that the airspace closure on its eastern border with India would be extended to June 14.

India has said Pakistan was to blame for the deaths of Indian troops in Kashmir, which is divided between the two nuclear-armed states but is claimed in its entirety by both sides. Islamabad has denied any role in the bloodshed.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly rejects the accusation.

Tensions have since been running high between the two neighbors which have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, three of them over Kashmir.

Resource: Presstv
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