He indicated that Pakistan’s actions were not those of a “normal” country.
New Delhi: Following the refusal of Pakistan to allow the VVIP Air India One aircraft — that will carry Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States — to overfly its airspace, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said that Islamabad “should realise the folly of its actions” and that if Pakistan “is in violation of norms of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)”, India could “consider” approaching the ICAO. He however said that at the moment, “there is no intention to do so”. He indicated that Pakistan’s actions were not those of a “normal” country.
In response to a question, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “So far as airspace is concerned, it was a rather unfortunate situation where the country denies overflight to the head of state or Head of Government of another country but this is true when the country (Pakistan) is a normal country. We have made our position very clear. We hope that Pakistan will realise the folly of its actions. As far as going to any international organisation is concerned, we will take a look at that. So far there is no intention to do so. But if they are in violation of regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), there is a possibility we can certainly consider that.
Earlier on Wednesday, India had reacted angrily, with the MEA saying, “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. Pakistan should reflect upon its decision to deviate from well established international practice, as well as reconsider its old habit of misrepresenting the reasons for taking unilateral action.”
Less than two weeks after Pakistan refused permission for the Air India One VVIP flight carrying President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace to fly to Iceland, it had on Wednesday refused a request permission to overfly its airspace for another VVIP Air India One flight that will fly PM MOdi to the US.