SunstarTV Bureau: India on Tuesday has allowed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aircraft to use Indian airspace to travel to Sri Lanka on his two days official visit.
According to sources, the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted Pak Prime Minister’s flight to Sri Lanka for a state visit, in a concession to India’s terror-friendly neighbour.
He will be accompanied by Cabinet colleagues, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and a high-level business delegation.
During his visit, the Pakistan PM will hold bilateral meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, during which trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, technology, defence and tourism would be discussed, according to a media statement.
However, in September 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly 74th Session and again in October 2019, when the PM was going on a state visit to Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, Pakistan had not allowed India over flight rights. Therefore, Air India One had to take a detour both times.
It is also pertaining to say that the DGCA does not have the power of giving permission of over flight rights to any country without a political nod.
Overlook on relationships between two countries
The already-strained ties between the two neighbouring countries worsened in 2019 after the Pulwama terror attack and subsequent Balakot air strike.
Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours flared up after 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, 2019.
Days after the dastardly attack, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out airstrike targeting JeM terror camps in the Balakot village of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in what is deemed as a ‘pre-emptive’ measure.
The relations between the two countries turned sour once again when India revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and further bifurcated the state into two Union territories in August 2019.
Following this move, Pakistan ran from pillar to post to internationalise the issue and get support from the international community, but it failed miserably. India maintained that the decision on Kashmir was its ‘internal matter’.