India asks Pakistan to exempt Narendra Modi’s flight

Detour will take 8 hours to Bishkek.

Updated - June 09, 2019 08:19 am IST

Published - June 09, 2019 01:57 am IST - New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India has requested Pakistan that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be allowed to fly through its airspace to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on June 13 and 14 despite the restrictions it had imposed on flights from and through the country, according to government sources.

The two countries had made an exemption for each other’s Foreign Ministers last month.

After imposing a ban on all flights following India’s air strikes in Balakot deep inside its territory, Pakistan has lifted restrictions on the use of its airspace for most carriers and opened only two out of 11 routes through its southern parts for flights to and from India.

Flying time

As a result, airlines still need to take a long detour to fly to countries to the north of Pakistan. A flight to Bishkek through Pakistan is likely to take nearly four hours, but a detour will result in an eight-hour flight.

Early May, India allowed Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to fly through its airspace for a visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

This was followed by Pakistan permitting then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through its airspace for the SCO meeting in Bishkek on May 22 and 23.


Mr. Qureshi though had to cancel his trip following the serial bomb blasts that took place on Easter day in Sri Lanka.

Curbs continue

Airspace restrictions by Pakistan have been in place since February 27 and were recently extended until June 15 for flights entering the country through its eastern border after flying through Indian skies.

These have resulted in steep airfares for passengers, including a large number of Indian students in different Central Asian countries planning a trip home for their summer break.

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