New Delhi: Pakistan on Sunday turned down India’s request to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi use its airspace to travel to Saudi Arabia for his two-day state visit to the country starting October 29, said news agency ANI, quoting reports in Pakistani media.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will inform the Indian High Commission about this decision through a written statement, ANI further reported.
This is not the first time that Islamabad has turned down India’s request to let PM Modi use its airspace. Last month, it did not allow PM Modi to use its airspace to fly to the US. Before that, earlier in the same month, it also did not allow President Ram Nath Kovind, to use its airspace for his flight to Iceland.
A few days back, it was also revealed that, in September only, an Indian passenger aircraft, on its way from Delhi to Kabul, was intercepted by two fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), while it was in Pakistani airspace, and escorted out of there till it entered Pakistan.
The latest move by Pakistan, according to reports in its media, is due to India’s ‘ongoing human rights violation’ in Kashmir, which lost its special status in August when New Delhi revoked Article 370 of its Constitution.
This is not the first time this year that such issues have come up between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Earlier this year, Pakistan closed its airspace for civilian Indian aircraft after tensions spiked between the two countries in the wake of a suicide attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in February.
The attack prompted a retaliatory strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Pakistan’s Balakot later that month and aerial dogfights between the two countries the next day.