New Delhi: Islamabad said on Wednesday that it was ready to open its airspace “specifically” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to Bishkek to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. This comes after India decided not to use the Pakistani airspace for PM Modi’s flight, said a leading daily.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed that PM Modi’s aircraft won’t fly through Pakistan’s airspace en route to Kyrgyzstan’s Bikshek. “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,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
PTI quoted Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan as saying Pakistan was still willing to open its airspace for PM Modi’s overflight to Bishkek as a “goodwill gesture”.
State-run Radio Pakistan reported that the airspace will be open for a period of 72 hours during which PM Modi will fly to Bikshek from New Delhi on Thursday and return the next day.
The MEA also made it clear that no meeting between PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan had been arranged.
Last month, Pakistan had given special permission to then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to use its airspace when she was attending the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in Bishkek.
The country had closed its airspace after the Indian Air Force attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26, a few days after the Pulwama attack.