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Pakistan Shuts Airspace For Indian Airlines At 3 Routes


Escalating its retaliatory moves over the Indian government's decision to revoke Jammu And Kashmir's special status, Pakistan closed three out of nine air routes for Indian carriers. The decision will affect Air India's international flights and is estimated to increase travel time of around 50 flights by 10 to 15 minutes.


Pakistan Shuts Airspace For Indian Airlines At 3 Routes

"The impact will be huge as flying time for our ultra long haul flights using Pakistani airspace would increase by 2-3 hours," a senior Air India official told IANS.

This is the second time in 2019 that such a disruption was faced. Earlier in February, following the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force, Air India suffered a loss of Rs 430 crore due to airspace closure.

Pakistan has been shown its disapproval of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, that bifurcates the state into two union territories and scraps the special status given to the region under article 370. Calling the decision "unilateral and illegal," the country on Wednesday said it will downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend bilateral trade.

Pakistan also announced that it will expel India's ambassador to Pakistan and call back its ambassador to India. It has also called for a review of the bilateral arrangements between the two countries.

Further, China's Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, criticized Indian government's move and said that Jammu and Kashmir is "internationally recognized dispute territory." On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying earlier termed the reorganisation of Ladakh as a union territory "unacceptable."

Story first published: Thursday, August 8, 2019, 12:31 [IST]
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