Pakistan to allow Modi’s overflight to Bishkek for SCO summit

Updated June 11, 2019

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Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14. — AP/File
Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14. — AP/File

NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14. Indian reports say no meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan was on the agenda.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on Feb 26 after an Indian Air Force incursion near Balakot.

The Hindu said India requested Pakistan to let Mr Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan for a meeting of the Shanghai club.

An unnamed official confirmed to Press Trust of India that Islamabad had approved in principle the Indian government’s request to let Mr Modi’s aircraft fly over Pakistan airspace to Bishkek.

“The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently,” the official said, adding Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.

He said Mr Khan has recently written a letter to his Indian counterpart stressing Pakistan requires a solution for all geopolitical issues including Kashmir between the two neighbours.

The official said Pakistan is still optimistic that India will respond to peace offer despite the fact both premiers are not meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

A senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, when contacted by Dawn confirmed that they had received a formal request from Indian prime minister in this regard and the request was being “processed”. He, however, disclosed that the government had in principle decided to allow Mr Modi’s aircraft to use Pakistan’s airspace as they had allowed the then Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly over the country when she was travelling to Bishkek to attend the SCO meeting last month.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019