Prez Kovind’s plane can’t overfly Pakistan, says foreign minister Qureshi
Pakistan on Saturday said it had denied India’s President Ram Nath Kovind permission to fly through its airspace for his foreign trip due to New Delhi’s recent “behaviour”. Such requests are usually granted by countries.
“The decision has been taken in view of India’s behaviour,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a statement to state broadcaster PTV, reports AFP.
India, Pakistan ties have been tense since New Delhi announced the scrapping of Article 370, granting special status, in Jammu and Kashmir and also divided the state into two union territories. Islamabad has been since trying to rake up the issue at all international fora but with limited success.
Kovind is scheduled to visit Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia 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.
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“The Indian President had sought permission to use Pakistan’s airspace to travel to Iceland but we decided not to permit him,” Qureshi added without giving further details.
The decision was approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan in view of the tense situation in Kashmir, the minister said, reports PTI.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.