The International Civil Aviation Organisation has told India that planes carrying national leaders are considered to be “state aircraft” and are not subject to its provisions, PTI reported on Tuesday.
The world body pointed this out in its response to New Delhi’s complaint against Pakistan for refusing to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft use its airspace on its way to Saudi Arabia. Modi is in the West Asian country on a two-day visit starting Tuesday. Pakistan had announced its decision on October 27. It was the third such instance involving Modi in the last two months.
“The Convention on International Civil Aviation [Chicago Convention], which ICAO helps governments to cooperate under, only applies to the operations of civilian aircraft and not to state or military aircraft,” an unidentified spokesperson of the organisation told PTI. “Flights carrying national leaders are considered state aircraft, and are therefore not subject to ICAO provisions.”
Pakistan cited alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir as the reason for its decision. India had implemented a security and communications blockade in the region in August, and revoked its special constitutional status. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s decision on Sunday coincided with anti-India demonstrations held across the country in protest against the developments in Kashmir.
In September, Islamabad had cited the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to twice reject India’s request. The second request was lodged before Modi’s journey to the United States for a United Nations General Assembly summit. On September 7, Pakistan had refused to allow President Ram Nath Kovind to use its airspace during his visit to Iceland.
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