India on Thursday, 20 September, termed as "unfortunate" Pakistan's denial of overflight clearance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP plane for his upcoming visit to the US and hoped that Islamabad will realise the folly of its actions.
The Ministry of External Affairs had hit out at Pakistan on Wednesday, 18 September, after it rejected India's request to allow Modi's aircraft to use its airspace for his upcoming visit to the US via Germany, citing "the current situation in Kashmir", reported news agency PTI.
"“We regret the decision of the government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight for a second time in two weeks, which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.” " - Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson, MEA
Kumar added that Islamabad should reflect upon its decision to deviate from well established international practice and reconsider its "old habit" of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan will not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP flight to use its airspace for his upcoming visit to the United States via Germany.
"“We have conveyed to the Indian High Commission that we will not allow use of our air space for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight.”" - Shah Mehmood Qureshi
India had put in a request to use its airspace to travel to Germany on 21 September and return on 28 September, Qureshi added.
The Prime Minister’s flight will now have to take a long detour. He is travelling to the US on 21 September to attend the 'Howdy Modi' diaspora event on 22 September and address the UN General Assembly on 27 September.
Pakistan's denial comes days after it refused permission to President Ram Nath Kovind's aircraft to fly over it during an official trip to Iceland.
(With inputs from PTI)
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