After India decided not to use the Pakistani airspace for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to Bishkek to attend the SCO summit, Islamabad said Wednesday that they are ready to open their airspace “specifically” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s VVIP flight to Bikshek to attend the SCO summit.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that PM Modi’s VVIP aircraft won’t fly through Pakistan’s airspace en route to Kyrgyzstan’s Bikshek.
“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,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that an application to open the airspace was received by the Aviation Division from the Indian High Commission on Monday.
Sarwar Khan said that after holding consultations with all the stakeholders, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed to open the airspace for PM Modi’s flight as a “goodwill gesture.”
State-run Radio Pakistan reported that the airspace will be open for a period of 72 hours during which Air India plane B 747-400, with PM Modi onboard, will fly to Bikshek from New Delhi on Thursday and return the next day.
PM Imran Khan, who will also attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13 and June 14, gave rise to speculations that he might hold a meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the multilateral forum to ease the tensions in bilateral ties after the Pulwama terror attack.
However, MEA on Wednesday made it clear that no such meeting has been arranged between the two leaders.
Pakistan, last month, had given special permission to then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to use its airspace when she was attending the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in Bishkek.
The country had fully closed its airspace after the Indian Air Force attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26, a few days after the Pulwama attack, which killed 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.