PM Imran Khan will not use Indian airspace for his Malaysia visit
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will not use Indian airspace while leaving for his high-profile Malaysia visit starting today.
PM Imran Khan is reported to have planned his travel through the Chinese route although it will take four additional hours than the rejected Indian one. The decision has come in the wake of Pakistan’s decision of not allowing Indian PM Modi to use Pakistan’s airspace while his entourages to Saudi Arabia, Germany, New York and the subsequent return.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will be on a two-day visit to Malaysia on Feb 3, 4. A high-level delegation including cabinet members and senior officials is accompanying the PM who will hold a one-on-one meeting with Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Muhammad.
The PM Imran Khan is scheduled to address ISIS, Institute of Strategic And International Studies of Malaysia. Several MoUs are scheduled to be signed between the two countries.
Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui has said that PM Imran is visiting Kuala Lumpur on the invitation of his Malaysia counterpart Mahathir Mohamad. According to media report Mr Khan is expected to raise the Kashmir pitch during his meeting with the Malaysian counterpart.
Sources told that the Pakistan Prime Minister took the decision of not using the Indian airspace in light of the situation in Kashmir. India and Pakistan are at loggerheads since last year owing to a series of events, including the terrorist attack in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir.
The tensions between the two nations increased further after the central government abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories.
Islamabad, on several occasions, did not allow Indian leaders including President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace during their trips abroad.
In October last year, India had taken the matter of Pakistan’s move to deny permission to Modi’s special flight to use its airspace, to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
(Foreign Desk with Agency Report)