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Did not deny Malaysia PM Mahathir Bin Mohamad right to fly over India: Government sources

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 26, 2019, 01.29 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India has strongly dismissed reports in the Pakistani media that it denied Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad the right to fly over India during his recent visit to Pakistan. Indian government sources said the reports were "false and motivated."

Mohamad had been chief guest at Pakistan's National Day on February 23. 

WION has learnt that the Malaysian PM had to take a longer route to Pakistan despite the Directorate General of Civil Aviation saying he could fly over India since Pakistan had blocked its airspace to flights overflying India.

The government sources told WION that it was strange that Pakistan did not make an exception even for the chief guest of their National Day, thereby forcing him to fly a longer route. 

The Indian Air Force had on February 26 conducted an air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan's Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunwa province. The air strike was in retaliation for the February 14 suicide attack on a security convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama which left over 40 CRPF personnel dead

A day later, on February 27, the Pakistan Air Force dropped bombs on Indian territory from its side of the Line of Control.

Pakistan said the bombs were aimed at displaying its "deterrence capabilities". India says the bombs were aimed at military installations but that they missed their targets. 

Pakistan's airspace has remained partially closed since February 27. And the country's civil aviation authority has since then denied permission to planes overflying India to enter Pakistani airspace, including apparently that of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. 

Story highlights

India has strongly dismissed reports in the Pakistani media that it denied Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad the right to fly over India during his recent visit to Pakistan.