- Pak won't allow PM Modi to use its airspace while travelling to US
- Pak didn't allow President Kovind to use its airspace earlier this month
- India said Pak must "recognize the futility of such unilateral actions"
Pakistan will not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace while travelling to the United States, the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Wednesday. PM Modi will leave for the US on September 21 for a week-long visit.
"We regret the decision of the Government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight for a second time in two weeks, which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country," the foreign ministry 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," added ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Pakistan had closed its airspace to India after the air strikes on the Jaish-e Mohammad terror camp at Balakot on February 26. But it opted for a partial opening again in July. Days later, its aviation minister said his country suffered loses of over eight billion rupees ($50 million) from the airspace restrictions, reported news agency Reuters.
From August 28 to August 31, Pakistan had shut three aviation routes in the Karachi airspace. Islamabad announced that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was considering a complete ban on Indian flights. The closure of these routes did not affect the operations of Indian flights.
Earlier this month, Islamabad did not allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace during his visit to Iceland. Mr Qureshi attributed Islamabad's decision to India's "recent behaviour" - a reference to the government's move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.
The foreign ministry said it regretted Pakistan's decision to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight, "which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country".
"We call upon Pakistan to recognize the futility of such unilateral actions," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.