Aviation body rejects India’s complaint on Pakistan’s airspace denial to Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks as he hosts a special event commemorating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi during the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. (Photo: AP). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 29, 2019, Pakistan Today. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has rejected India’s complaint against Pakistan’s refusal to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace for an overflight, reported the Pakistan Today.

According to First Post, the ICAO said flights carrying national leaders are considered “state aircraft” and are not subject to the body’s provisions.

The Indian government had sought Pakistan’s permission to use the country’s airspace on Oct 28 for the Indian premier, who is visiting Saudi Arabia to participate in an international business conference. However, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced on Sunday that Pakistan had denied the request.

Qureshi, in a statement, had said that the decision was taken in the context of Black Day and “in view of the continued gross human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.

In response to India’s complaint, First Post quoted the ICAO spokesperson as saying: “The Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention), which ICAO helps governments to cooperate under, only applies to the operations of civilian aircraft and not to state or military aircraft.”

“Flights carrying national leaders are considered state aircraft, and are therefore not subject to ICAO provisions,” the spokesperson added.

This was not the first time Pakistan denied India’s request to use its airspace. The government in September had also denied India’s request for Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany.

The decision on Sunday came with tensions simmering between the two nuclear-armed rivals after India stripped occupied Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status through a presidential decree and imposed a strict security and communication lockdown that has continued nearly three months now.

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