02:39 GMT +316 June 2019
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    Indian PM Modi May Have to Use Pakistani Airspace to Reach SCO Summit - Source

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    In response to India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach Kyrgyzstan via Pakistan, the latter granted such clearance for their airspace, but later the Indian External Affairs Ministry announced Modi’s flight would take an alternative route.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): Despite India saying PM Modi won't travel through Pakistan despite Islamabad granting him clearance, Narendra Modi may have to use Pakistani airspace to reach and attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, according to a Pakistani source. 

    "Despite the announcement made by India to not use Pakistani airspace for route to Bishkek, factual position is that even for the route mentioned, his plane will use the Pakistani airspace. His plane is to now take Pak airspace from Karachi, Hingol to Iran/Oman via over Gwadar," a Pakistan official claimed.

    Earlier in the day, the India External Affairs Ministry said Modi's aircraft will not cross Pakistani airspace to Bishkek for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

    Pakistan has opened two routes - one for traffic from India to Europe/Central Asia and the second for traffic to India - since March for Indian flights, while the rest of the country's airspace has been closed since 26 February after the Indian Air Force conducted an air strike in Balakot.

    Pakistan approved the Indian request and today it formally conveyed its decision to the Indian authorities. However, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said that PM Modi's flight would take an alternative route.

    "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," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

    India earlier requested Pakistan to let Modi's aircraft fly through its airspace on 13-14 June; similar to what was granted to then-Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her visit to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to attend the SCO summit in May.

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    Tags:
    escalation, airspace closure, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Imran Khan, Narendra Modi, Oman, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India
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