PM Narendra Modi won’t fly over Pakistan for Bishkek summit, opts for Oman routehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/pm-narendra-modi-wont-fly-over-pakistan-for-bishkek-summit-opts-for-oman-route-5776916/

PM Narendra Modi won’t fly over Pakistan for Bishkek summit, opts for Oman route

Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two of its 11 routes, both of which pass through southern Pakistan, for commercial airlines.

PM Narendra Modi won't fly over Pakistan for Bishkek summit, opts for Oman route
PM Modi is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit. (PTI Photo/File)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not fly through Pakistan’s airspace en route Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Wednesday. Instead, his aircraft will travel via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries.

In response to media queries regarding on the route he would take, spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “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.”

Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two of its 11 routes for commercial airlines, both of which pass through southern Pakistan.

Pakistan had given Sushma Swaraj special permission to use its airways when she was attending the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on May 21. She was the external affairs minister at the time.

PM Modi is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

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He is expected to articulate India’s position on dealing with major challenges facing the region including the rising threat of terrorism. It will be the first multilateral meeting in which PM Modi will participate after retaining power for the second consecutive term.

As per a PTI report, Pakistan had decided in principle on Tuesday to let PM Modi cross its airspace at India’s request. Quoting an official source, the report added that Pakistan was optimistic that India would respond to its peace offer despite the fact that the two PMs were not meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.