India regrets Pakistan’s decision to deny request to use its airspace for Kovind’s flight



India said it regretted the decision by Pakistan to deny President Ram Nath Kovind permission to use its airspace to travel to Iceland on an official visit, adding that “we call upon Pakistan to recognize the futility of such unilateral actions.”

In response to Islamabad’s closure of airspace for Kovind’s special flight, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Saturday, “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.”

Kovind is scheduled to travel to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia on an official nine-day visit from Monday during which he is expected to brief the top leadership in those countries on India’s “national concerns”, especially in view of terror incidents this year, including the Pulwama attack.

The decision to close its airspace was approved by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in view of the tense situation in Kashmir, the country’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told state broadcaster PTV Saturday.

Pakistan had earlier threatened to close its airspace for flights taking off from India in protest against the removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status enjoyed under Article 370. Islamabad had also downgraded diplomatic ties with India and sent High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria back to India.

Pakistan has sought to internationalize the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, urging the United Nations to intervene in India’s decision to scrap provisions of Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcate it into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Last month, on the sidelines of the G-7 meeting in Biarritz in France, Modi had said that all issues with Pakistan are bilateral and India doesn’t bother any other country about them. “India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and I’m confident that we can discuss our problems and solve them, together,” he said.

Earlier this year, Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14. Almost after five months, Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on July 16.

Courtesy/Source: Indian Express