News Desk |
The Indian government has requested Islamabad to allow the aircraft carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fly over Pakistani airspace for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)’s meeting scheduled for 13th June, on Sunday. Media reports reveal that officials from Islamabad have confirmed receiving a formal request from the Indian government.
Earlier on Sunday, the Press Trust of India cited a senior Indian official confirming New Delhi’s formal request. The unnamed Indian government official stated, “We have requested Pakistan to let the PM’s plane fly over its airspace through one of the routes that has not been opened as yet. The PM has to attend the SCO meet on June 13 and June 14.”
Media reports reveal that officials from Islamabad have confirmed receiving a formal request from the Indian government.
The Indian High Commission sent a delegation to underscore New Delhi’s request for allowing PM Modi access to Pakistani airspace during his flight to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Earlier, Islamabad had allowed special permission to India’s former Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace on her way to attend the SCO Foreign Minister’s conference in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on 21st May.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Indian PM Modi are both scheduled to attend the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kyrgyzstan. However, New Delhi has firmly stated that there is no possibility of a bilateral meeting between the two Prime Ministers on the sidelines of the SCO summit.
Read more: Pakistan’s airspace to remain closed for transit flights
Pakistani Airspace Closure Burdens India
Following the military stand-off and escalated tensions between the two south Asian nuclear-armed rivals on 27th February in the wake of the Pulwama attack, Pakistan shut down its airspace alongside the eastern border, with speculations of closure until 14th June.
Despite Pakistan’s consistent efforts to resume bilateral engagement and engage in direct talks, India continues to intensify tensions and refuses to come to the negotiating table. Aside from two routs operating through the Southern borders of the country, Pakistan’s airspace remains shut down for all commercial airlines.
The unnamed Indian government official stated, “We have requested Pakistan to let the PM’s plane fly over its airspace through one of the routes that has not been opened as yet.
On 31st May, the Indian Air Force removed all the temporary restrictions imposed on the Indian airspace in the aftermath of the alleged Balakot strike. However, Indian media reports that Pakistan’s unwillingness to completely open up its airspace has had damaging impact on commercial airlines. The prolonged closure of the Pakistani airspace has affected both Indian airlines, and the international operations of IndiGo and Air India.
Read more: Thousands stranded in Thailand after Pakistan closes airspace
IndiGo, which happens to be the largest Indian airline as per the PTI’s report, has not been able to initiate direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul since Pakistan shut down its airspace. Similarly, Air India, the most luxurious carrier of the neighboring rival, has not been able to carry non-stop flights from Delhi to the US.