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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

India could take up airspace denial with international body

Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told a news briefing that it was “rather unfortunate” that Pakistan had denied an overflight to the head of the state of another country.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2019 00:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale called the denial of airspace ‘unfortunate’ and will consider approaching the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over Pakistan’s refusal.
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale called the denial of airspace ‘unfortunate’ and will consider approaching the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over Pakistan’s refusal. (HT FILE)
         

India on Thursday said it could consider approaching the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over Pakistan’s refusal to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US flight to use its airspace.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Pakistan has barred overflight by an Indian VVIP. Its foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the decision was made because of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told a news briefing that it was “rather unfortunate” that Pakistan had denied an overflight to the head of the state of another country. “We have made our position very clear – we hope Pakistan will realise the folly of its actions,” he said.

“As far as going to any international organisation is concerned, we will take a look at that. So far, there is no intention to do so but if they are in violation of regulations of the ICAO, that is a possibility we can certainly consider,” he added.

Earlier, on September 7, Pakistan had denied permission to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind’s aircraft to fly through its airspace because of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

People familiar with the developments said a routine request for an overflight was made as Pakistan had not closed its airspace. “There have been questions why a request was made even after Pakistan earlier denied permission for the President’s flight, but the practice is to seek an overflight permission for the shortest possible route,” said an official who didn’t want to be identified.

Pakistan had closed its airspace in February after Indian jets conducted an air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot. The restrictions on civilian traffic were removed on July 16.

First Published: Sep 19, 2019 23:56 IST

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