PM Modi to avoid Pakistani airspace, fly via Oman, Iran to Bishkek for SCO meet
NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not fly over the Pakistani airspace while travelling to Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13 and June 14.
In a change of plan, the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said the VVIP aircraft carrying Modi will fly via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries on the way to Bishkek.
The Ministry said the Government had explored two options for the route to be taken by the aircraft to Bishkek for the SCO Summit.
“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 had on Monday decided in principle to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi fly over its airspace to Bishkek.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is also attending the SCO meet.
Pakistan had fully 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 routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.
According to reports, India had requested Pakistan to allow the use of their airspace for PM Modi’s special flight to Bishkek.
Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Monday reiterated that there is no meeting scheduled between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the upcoming SCO Summit.
Earlier on Friday, Imran Khan had written to PM Modi offering dialogue to reconcilable problems including the Kashmir issue.
The SCO is a China-led eight-member economic and security bloc with India and Pakistan being admitted to the grouping in 2017.
At the meet, PM Modi is most likely to raise the issue of the neighbouring nation harbouring terrorists.
Relations between Pakistan and India hit a nadir in the last five years with at least three major terror attacks on Indian military establishment and personnel of armed forces since 2016.