Pakistan charges Indian PM Modi Rs286,000 for using its airspace on foreign visits

Data collected by former IAF officer reveals Indian premier has spent Rs200 million on foreign trips since 2014

News Desk February 19, 2018
Former premier Nawaz Sharif with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: LAHORE DISPATCH

Pakistan has billed India Rs286,000 as route navigation charges for the aircraft used by Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi during a stopover in Lahore and visits to Russia, Afghanistan, Iran and Qatar, according to Times of India.

The data gathered by former Indian officer Lokesh Batra, through a formal application, shows that till June 2016, Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft were used for PM Modi's visits to 11 countries - Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Qatar, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Fiji and Singapore.

During one such visit on December 25, 2015, Modi had a brief stopover in Lahore at the request of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The stopover took place when Modi was returning from Russia and Afghanistan.

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For this, a bill of Rs149,000 has been issued as route navigation charges, records accessed from the Indian High Commission in Pakistan show.

Modi was received by Sharif with a warm hug at the tarmac of the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, when he made the unexpected stopover on his way back home following a day-long trip to Afghanistan after concluding a two-day visit to Russia.

Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome as the special IAF Boeing 737 plane touched down in the evening. He took a helicopter to the palatial residence of Nawaz Sharif on the outskirts of Lahore to attend his birthday celebrations.

A bill of Rs77,215 was imposed as route navigation charges by Pakistani authorities when Modi used an IAF aircraft to visit Iran on May 22-23, 2016, and Rs59,215 when he visited Qatar on June 4-6, 2016.

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For both visits, he flew over Pakistan. The records were part of a response collected from various missions of India on the expenditure incurred on the visits of Modi on IAF aircraft between 2014 and 2016.

According to the data collected, a total of about Rs200 million has been spent on foreign visits of PM Modi during the period for the use of IAF aircraft.

This article originally appeared on Times of India