09:29 GMT +312 December 2019
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    A security personnel stands guard on a street during a lockdown in Srinagar on August 11, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy

    'Modi Started, We'll Finish': Pakistani Minister Warns Airspace Along Border With India Could Be Closed

    © AFP 2019 / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
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    The two countries exchanged fire at the Line of Control (LoC) on several occasions in August, blaming each other for violating a ceasefire agreement negotiated earlier. In response to the recent escalation, Islamabad cut off trade and transport communications with India.

    Islamabad is considering an option to close the airspace along the border with India amid continuing tensions with its neighbour, Pakistani Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain tweeted on 27 August. The idea was discussed during a Pakistani cabinet meeting along with a suggestion to ban the use of ground routes in Pakistan that India uses in trade with Afghanistan.

    The minister indicated that the formalities for the step are under consideration and added that the move was triggered by the actions of the Indian prime minister: "Modi has started we'll finish!"

    Following Hussain's tweets, Pakistani Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan stated that the final decision on the closure of airspace with India will be taken within 48 hours.

    During the cabinet meeting on 27 August Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir region as well as New Delhi's actions on the territories it controls there.

    Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated in August amid several ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), separating the two countries that each side subsequently blamed on the other. Following these incidents, New Delhi abolished Article 370 that granted Jammu and Kashmir special status, despite protests from Islamabad. In response to this, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India, as well as ceased transport communications and trade with its neighbour.

    Pakistan had reopened its airspace in July following a months-long closure, imposed in February in light of another escalation at the LoC. It was triggered by an attack of an alleged Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir that led to clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbours and the downing of at least one Indian jet.

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