NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be flying over the Pakistani airspace to travel to Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Wednesday to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the Prime Minister will instead fly over Oman, Iran, and several Central Asian countries to reach Bishkek.
"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 MEA spokesperson said.
India had earlier requested Pakistan to allow the PM's aircraft to fly over its airspace when he travels to Bishkek. In response, Pakistan had accorded an "in principle" approval to the request. A Pakistani official had earlier told news agency PTI that the "Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently." However, the official had added that Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an 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.