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India moves world body after Pak denies airspace use for PM Modi’s flight to Saudi: Report

Sources in the government regretted Islamabad’s stand saying that such overflight clearances for VVIP special flights were granted routinely by ‘any normal country’.

SNS | New Delhi |

After Pakistan denied India’s request to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to use its airspace for his visit to Saudi Arabia, New Delhi has taken the matter to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Sources in the government regretted Islamabad’s stand saying that such overflight clearances for VVIP special flights were granted routinely by “any normal country”.

“We regret the decision of the Government of Pakistan to yet again deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight, which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country,” government sources were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“Overflight clearances are sought, and granted by other countries as per prescribed ICAO guidelines and India will continue to seek such overflight clearances. Separately, we have taken up the matter of such denial with the relevant international civil aviation body,” sources said.

They further added that Pakistan should ‘reflect upon its decision to deviate from well established international practice, as well as reconsider its old habit of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action’.

Pakistan rejected India’s request alleging the violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has decided not to allow Prime Minister Modi to use the country’s airspace.

Qureshi said the decision had been taken to show solidarity on the black day being marked by Pakistan, and in light of the recent human rights violations by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.

Islamabad would inform the Indian High Commissioner of the decision through a written statement, he added.

PM Modi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Monday where he will attend an international business forum and hold talks with top Saudi leadership.

In September, Pakistan had rejected India’s request to allow Prime Minister Modi’s flight to use its airspace for his visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly.

Pakistan also denied President Ram Nath Kovind the permission to use its airspace to travel to Iceland the same month.

The Ministry of External Affairs had regretted the decision of the Government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight for a second time in two weeks, which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.

Pakistan had on July 16 opened its airspace for all civilian traffic, removing the ban on Indian flights that were not allowed to use a majority of its airspace since the Balakot airstrikes in February.

Then again, days after the revocation of Article 370, Pakistan closed its airspace partially, hours after it decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India.