India has permitted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan‘s aircraft to use Indian Air Space as he travels to Sri Lanka, news agency ANI reported. This will be Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Sri Lanka. His aircraft twill land at the Colombo airport.
Earlier in 2019, Pakistan had denied opening its airspace for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flights to the US and Saudi Arabia. India then raised the denial of permission to VVIP flight with International Civil Aviation Organisation — a specialised agency of the United Nations.
Under normal circumstances, the VVIP aircraft are granted permission by countries. However, Pakistan’s denial of permission to VVIP aircraft was an aberration.
In another related development, Sri Lanka has cancelled a scheduled speech of Imran Khan in Parliament. ANI cited a report titled ‘Sri Lanka avoids clash with India by cancelling Khan’s Parliament speech’ by Dar Javed published in Colombo Gazette, to say that the island nation cannot risk its relations with India when it is getting stuck in the Chinese debt-trap.
The article also lauded India’s Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy. India has recently gifted 5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka.