Pakistan denies airspace to Indian Prime Minister amid Kashmir tensions

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi [Photo Credit: CNN]
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi [Photo Credit: CNN]

Pakistan has refused to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi fly through its airspace, officials said on Thursday.

This is coming in the wake of rising tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Islamabad turned down a request by New Delhi to allow Modi’s overflight on September 20 and September 28, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi said in a video late on Wednesday.

“We did this because of the existing situation in Kashmir,” he added, referring to a security lockdown in the Himalayan valley since India stripped the region of special autonomy last month.

Pakistan’s airspace is open for commercial flights, but this is the second time this month that Islamabad has turned down a special request from India to let its leaders overfly.

The move comes as a fresh row erupted between the nuclear-armed rivals after India’s external affairs minister said his country would try to capture part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control.

Pakistan reacted by warning that it would respond effectively to any act of aggression if its sovereignty is challenged.

The fresh row has added to tensions already high since last month annexation of Kashmir by India.

Kashmir has been divided in parts between Pakistan and India since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Both countries lay claim on the entire region and have fought two of their three wars in the past to seize control of the disputed valley.

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The Indian decision to annex its part of Kashmir has drawn a strong reaction from Pakistan. Islamabad downgraded diplomatic ties, suspended bilateral trade and halted cross-border transportation.

(dpa/NAN)

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