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India's National Carrier Diverts Flights as Pakistan Closes its Air Space Amid Kashmir Tensions

CC BY 2.0 / Kishore Nagarigari / Air India ExpressAir India Express Boeing 737-800W VT-AXE at Cochin International Airport (File)
Air India Express Boeing 737-800W VT-AXE at Cochin International Airport (File) - Sputnik International
New Delhi (India): Air India was forced to divert its flights after Pakistan closed its air space to Indian flights for the second time this year.

India's national carrier operates around 50 flights to destinations in the US, Europe and the Middle East every day through Pakistan’s air space, according to an Air India statement on Thursday.

"One air corridor has been closed (in Pakistani airspace), requiring a maximum of 12 minutes diversion. It will not affect us (much)," a report by television news channel NDTV quoted an Air India spokesperson as saying.

Pakistan decided to close its air space on Wednesday to register its strong objection to India revoking Article 370, which granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan government described New Delhi’s move to divide the state into two centrally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as “unilateral and illegal” and warned that it would take the issue to the UN.

The closure of airspace was taken at a meeting of Pakistan's National Security Committee, chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. It also decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend bilateral trade between the two countries.

Pakistan previously closed its airspace on 26 February after the Indian Air Force carried out strikes on a terror training camp in the Balakot region of the country in response to a suicide bombing attack in the Pulwama region of Indian administered Kashmir, which left 40 security personnel dead.


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