Modi will not overfly Pakistan to attend SCO summit


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not take the Pakistani air space for flying to the SCO summit in Bishkek in Kyrgystan later this week and instead will fly by the circuitous route through Oman and Iran.

 “Government of India had explored two options for the route to be taken by the VVIP Aircraft to Bishkek for the SCO Summit. A decision has now been taken that the VVIP Aircraft will fly via Oman, Iran and Central Asian countries on the way to Bishkek,” a statement by the External Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday.

Last week, India had requested Pakistan to let Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to the Kyrgyzstan capital to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit scheduled to be held on June 13-14.

Pakistan had fully shut its airspace on the eastern border with India after an Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out aerial airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26. Since then, it has only opened two of eleven routes; both of them pass through southern Pakistan.

However, Pakistan had taken an in principle decision on India’s request to allow Modi’s plane to fly over its air space making an exception.  Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had travelled to SCO ministerial meeting in Bishkek last month end before election results were announced by over flying the Pakistani air space, for which permission granted by Islamabad.