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Skar­du Airport operation in PoK, India says its ‘interference’ in internal affairs

According to reports from Pakistan, the status of the Skar­du Airport has been ‘upgraded’ and it will start operating as an international airport.

SNS | New Delhi |

India on Thursday said the decision of Pakistan authorities to upgrade Skardu airport and make it operational for international flights would be “interference in India’s internal matters”.

“I would not like to speak about any specific development in detail. You know our position and stand on Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). It is an interference in our internal matters,” an MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters here in the weekly briefing.

“We do not accept this. I will not make any comment on one specific development”.

He, however, said – “I don’t want to comment on any specific development except that our position over this has been clear”.

According to reports from Pakistan, the status of the Skar­du Airport has been ‘upgraded’ and it will start operating as an international airport.

“In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision master plan to promote tourism across the country, Skardu Airport starts operating as an international airport from December 2, 2021,” a spokesman for the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority said in a tweet:

The Skardu airbase raid was carried out by Indian forces on December 17, 1971, during the war of liberation of Bangladesh.

The airbase is located in PoK, Indian government sources have said earlier that care was taken so as to ensure that only the runway was bombed.

India-Bangladesh Maitri Diwas MEA spokesman Mr. Bagchi said, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in March, it was decided to commemorate December 6 as the Maitri Diwas or the Friendship Day.

“Ten days before the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, India had recognised Bangladesh on December 6, 1971. India was one of the first countries to establish bilateral diplomatic ties with Bangladesh,” he said.

The Maitri Diwas is being commemorated in 18 countries around the world apart from Dhaka and New Delhi.

These countries are Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, Qatar, Singapore, UK, Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, and the USA.

“The holding of Maitri Diwas is a reflection of the deep and abiding friendship between the peoples of India and
Bangladesh that has been forged in blood and shared sacrifices,” he said.

A special event on Dec 6 in New Delhi will see participation from both countries.