New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishek, June 13 and 14, and for that, he needs Pakistan’s help.
The Indian government has requested Pakistan to allow PM Modi to fly through its airspace in spite of the flight restrictions imposed following India’s air strikes in Balakot deep inside Pakistani territory back in February.
Pakistan opened two out of 11 routes through its southern areas for flights to and from India while lifting air space restrictions for most carriers. The two neighbouring countries also lifted the ban last month for each other’s Foreign Ministers.
Pakistan FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi was allowed by India to travel to Maldives and Sri Lanka through its airspace in May which was followed by Pakistan permitting India’s the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to use its airspace to fly directly to Bishek for an SCO meeting, May 22 and 24.
A flight from India to Bishek, through Pakistan, takes on average about four hours but a detour will push it to an eight-hour flight.
Pakistan imposed ban on its airspace February 25, which was recently extended to June 15 for all flights entering the country from the East after flying through Indian skies.
This has taken a toll on passengers, including a great number of Indian students studying at different Central Asian Universities, who have to pay steep airfares.