After Pakistan's move to deny the use of its airspace for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's special flight, India has gone to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), sources in the government have said. Overflight clearances for VVIP special flights are granted routinely by "any normal country", sources said on Sunday, saying that India regretted Islamabad's stand.
"Overflight clearances are sought, and granted by other countries as per prescribed ICAO guidelines and India will continue to seek such overflight clearances. Separately, we have taken up the matter of such denial with the relevant international civil aviation body," the sources said.
"Pakistan should reflect upon its decision to deviate from well-established international practice, as well as reconsider its old habit of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action."
Pakistani media had quoted the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as saying that Islamabad had turned down New Delhi's request for the use of its airspace for PM Modi's flight to Saudi Arabia.
"Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday announced that Islamabad has denied New Delhi's request for use of airspace for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi," reported Dawn newspaper.
According to media reports, India had sought Pakistan's permission to use the country's airspace for PM Modi's flight today to Saudi Arabia, where he will participate in an international business conference on Tuesday.
Radio Pakistan quoted the Pakistani Foreign Minister as saying that Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria would be informed about Islamabad's decision in writing.
Pakistan had earlier denied airspace permission to PM Modi's flight to the US for the UN General Assembly session on September 20.
President Ram Nath Kovind had also been denied permission to use Pakistan's airspace for his official trip to Europe.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after Indian Air Force fighters bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot days after over 40 soldiers were killed in Pulwama by a suicide attacker of the Pakistan-based terror group. The country opened its airspace to all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27.
On May 15, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30. It fully opened its airspace to all civilian traffic on July 16.
In June, Pakistan "specially" opened its airspace for PM Modi's flight to Bishkek to attend the SCO summit. However, India decided not to use Pakistani airspace.
The tense standoff spiked after India scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, drawing protests from Pakistan, which attempted to take it up at world forums.
India has categorically told the international community that its decision was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.