Pakistani authorities Saturday refused to give India’s President Ram Nath Kovind permission to fly through its airspace for his scheduled foreign trip.
President Kovind is scheduled to visit Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia from Monday during which he is expected to brief the top leadership in those countries on India’s national concerns, especially in view of terror incidents this year, including the Pulwama attack.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that decision to deny Indian President Ram Nath Kovind the use of Pakistani airspace was approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan in view of India’s continuing oppression of the people in occupied Kashmir.’
The already strained relationship between India and Pakistan escalated after India announced the scrapping of Article 370, granting special status, in Jammu and Kashmir and also divided the state into two union territories. India has repeatedly tried to get across to the terror state of Pakistan that Kashmir is its internal matter and the same has been endorsed by countries across the globe but loony Pakistan just seems to not understand. Since then it has been trying to rake up the issue at all international fora but with little success.
In its attempt to create pressure on India, Pakistan amongst many other things announced to snap bilateral trades with India and also said it was considering complete closure of Pakistani airspace to India and land routes to Afghanistan.
It is pertinent to note here that poverty-stricken Pakistan had to recently concede to its month-long subterfuge and call on India for something as basic as medicines. Yielding before India’s grit, strapped Pakistan was compelled to restore partial trade with India.
Earlier, Pakistan trying to increase tensions over full integration of Jammu and Kashmir in India had partially shut down its airspace for all airlines. The Pakistan airspace remained closed for several months after the Balakot strikes by India, and it was reopened only last month.
Closure of its own airspace after the Balakot airstrikes by India had cost Pakistan a whopping Rs 700 crores in about 4 months.