India has formally requested Pakistan to allow the plane of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace during the journey to New York. Sources told Zee News that a final response in this regard would be given by Pakistan after consultations within the authorities in the neighbouring country.
The sources said that New Delhi wrote to Islamabad last week, seeking the nod for use of airspace. It is mandatory for Pakistan to respond to India’s request before September 20.
In case Pakistan decides against allowing Prime Minister Modi’s flight to use its airspace, it will be violative of the International Civil Aviation Organisation charter, which Pakistan is a signatory to.
As per the provisions of the charter, unless there’s a special situation like war or other emergency conditions, singled out decisions cannot be done with regards to any individual flight.
If India goes to the global body against any violation, Pakistan can be slapped with a heavy fine.
This comes less than a month after Pakistan denied permission for the use of its airspace by President Ram Nath Kovind, who was slated to go on a three-nation tour of Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia.
Pakistani government sources had said that country's Prime Minister Imran Khan had himself endorsed this decision to decline use of Pakistani airspace for Indian President's movement.
Reacting to Pakistan’s move, India had termed it as a “futile” unilateral action.
In a statement, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said, "We regret the decision of the Government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country. We call upon Pakistan to recognize the futility of such unilateral actions."
Prime Modi had, however, used the Pakistani airspace in August, the first time since the Balakot airstrike in February, to travel to France for a bilateral meet.