India PM Modi uses Pakistani airspace for first time after botched Balakot attack

Published: August 22, 2019
Indian premier Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indian premier Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday used Pakistani airspace for the first time after February’s botched Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force.

Pakistan reopens airspace for civil aviation with immediate effect

The Indian premier is on a state visit to France, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain from August 22 to August 26.

The flight carrying Modi, callsign Air India One (AI-1), used Pakistani airspace while en route to France from New Delhi.




The objective of the visit, according to the Indian premier, was to strengthen ties with the time-tested friends and help explore new areas of cooperation.

Pakistan closed its airspace in February this year after a standoff with India in the wake of an attack on a police convoy in occupied Kashmir that killed 40 paramilitary police.

In the aftermath, two Indian fighter jets’ were downed. Pakistan also captured one of the Indian pilots who was later released.

Modi to avoid Pakistan airspace despite getting permission

In June, Modi avoided flying over Pakistan during a trip to Central Asia, even though its airspace was opened as a goodwill gesture.

Islamabad had fully reopened its airspace to civilian flights a month later.

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