Pakistan on Wednesday declined India's request to allow PM Narendra Modi's plane to fly through its airspace for the upcoming US visit. India had formally requested Pakistan to allow the plane to use its airspace during the journey to New York. This decision of the neighbouring country is violative of the International Civil Aviation Organisation charter, which Pakistan is a signatory to.
If Pakistan had allowed PM Modi's plane to fly via its airspace the straight route would have allowed Air India (AI) One to fly from Delhi-Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran and then Europe. However, the alternate route that AI One will take is Mumbai-Arabian Sea-Muscat-Europe route.
Pakistani Foreign Minister, Qureshi said, "India had requested for PM Modi's plane to use Pakistani airspace..but looking at Indian action in Kashmir we have decided not to give permission and we have conveyed this too to Indian high commission"
According to sources 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.
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 (MEA) 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.