Muscat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft will not fly over the Pakistan airspace to Bishkek for the SCO summit, the foreign ministry has said.
“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,” the official spokesperson said in response to queries over the route to be taken by Prime Minister.
Pakistan had earlier approved “in principle” India’s request to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft to fly over its airspace to Bishkek to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit this week.
India had requested Pakistan to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to attend the SCO summit on June 13-14.
The Pakistani official confirmed that the Imran Khan government had “approved in principle the Indian government’s request to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over the Pakistani airspace to Bishkek”.
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.
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, Kyrgyzstan, 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.