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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 28 February 2021 10.28 PM IST

India allows Imran Khan's plane to fly over its airspace during Sri Lanka visit

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NEW DELHI: India has allowed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan‘s aircraft to fly over its airspace to travel to Sri Lanka.

Khan is scheduled to embark on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka from Tuesday. He will be accompanied by Cabinet colleagues, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and a high-level business delegation.

During his visit, the Pakistan PM will hold bilateral meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, during which trade, investment, health, education, agriculture, technology, defence and tourism would be discussed, according to a media statement.

As per the Pakistan Foreign Office, Khan is paying the official visit on the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart.

Sri Lanka recently cancelled Khan’s scheduled speech in its Parliament reportedly to avoid confrontation with India.

According to a report published in Colombo Gazette, the Sri Lankan government cannot risk its relations with India when it is getting stuck in the Chinese debt-trap and India being the saviour for the world for distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

In 2019, Pakistan had not allowed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flights to use airspace for his visit to the US and Saudi Arabia citing alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.

India-Pakistan bitter relationships


The already-strained ties between the two neighbouring countries worsened in 2019 after the Pulwama terror attack and subsequent Balakot air strike.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours flared up after 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, 2019.

Days after the dastardly attack, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out airstrike targetting JeM terror camps in the Balakot village of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in what is deemed as a “pre-emptive” measure.

The relations between the two countries turned sour once again when India revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and further bifurcated the state into two Union territories in August 2019.

Following this move, Pakistan ran from pillar to post to internationalise the issue and get support from the international community, but it failed miserably. India maintained that the decision on Kashmir was its "internal matter".

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