New Delhi: India on Thursday termed as "unfortunate" Pakistan's denial of overflight clearance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP plane for his upcoming visit to the US and hoped that Islamabad will realise the folly of its actions.
Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India's request to allow Modi's aircraft to use its airspace for his upcoming visit to the US via Germany, citing "the current situation in Kashmir". Pakistan's denial comes days after it refused permission to President Ram Nath Kovind's aircraft to fly over it during an official trip to Iceland. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, at a press briefing, said, "It is a rather unfortunate situation where a country denies overflight to the head of state or head of government of another country. But this is true when it is a normal country."
"We have made our position very clear. We hope that Pakistan will realise the folly of its actions," he said. Asked if India will raise the issue at a global platform like the International Civil Aviation Organization, Gokhale said, "As far as going to any international organisation is concerned, we will take a look at that. So far there is no intention to do so. But if they are in violation of the regulations of the ICAO, that is a possibility, we can consider."
Announcing the decision to deny overflight clearance to PM Modi's plane, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad had been informed about it. "In the light of the current situation in Kashmir, India's attitude and atrocities there, we have decided to not allow our airspace for the flight of the Indian prime minister," he had said.
The Ministry of External Affairs had hit out at Pakistan for denying overflight clearance to Modi's VVIP plane, saying Islamabad should reflect upon its decision to deviate from well established international practice and reconsider its "old habit" of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action.