PM Narendra Modi not to fly over Pakistan on way to Bishkek

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not fly over Pakistan on his way to Bishkek on Thursday to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the external affairs ministry said.

It said Modi’s aircraft will fly over Oman, Iran, and several Central Asian countries to reach the Kyrgyz capital.

On Monday, a Pakistani official said that Islamabad has accorded in principle approval to India’s request.

India’s decision on the prime minister’s travel route to Bishkek appears surprising as it had only requested Pakistan to let Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace when he travels to Bishkek.

The decision also came over a week after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote separate letters to their Indian counterparts, pushing for restarting bilateral talks.

On his part, Modi said creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

Khan is also travelling to Bishkek to attend the SCO summit and there was speculation that he and Modi may hold a meeting on the sidelines of the multilateral forum.

However, on Monday, the MEA spokesperson said no such meeting has been arranged between the two leaders.

Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot.