PM Modi may meet Iran President Hassan Rouhani over oil issue

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now use a circuitous route via Oman and Iran to reach the Kyrgyzstan capital. — AFP  File

In a big surprise meant to be a curt veiled message to Pakistan, the special Air India flight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on board will now avoid Pakistani airspace en route to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. India and Pakistan joined in 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Kyrgyz capital to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional grouping led by Moscow and Beijing.

"The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed".

Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Monday reiterated that there is no meeting scheduled between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the upcoming SCO Summit.

Xi urged the two sides to stick to the fundamental judgement that China and India offer to each other chances for development, and do not pose each other threats, and called on the two countries to keep deepening mutual trust, focusing on cooperation, and properly handling their disputes so as to turn the bilateral relationship into a positive element for their respective development.

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They said that the Indian officials in Pakistan were constantly in contact with PM Khan since taking office, adding that Khan had said in April that Modi's win at the polls could help settle the Kashmir showdown. India maintains that terror and talks can not go together.

Pakistan had given special permission to India's then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 21 May.

The IAF announced on 31 May that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates and opens its complete airspace.

Indian government defended their actions as response to terror strike at Pulwama (Feb, 12) in the Indian controlled Kashmir which India blamed on groups operating from Pakistan.
Earlier in October, President Putin travelled to India for the 19th India-Russia annual summit during which he held comprehensive discussions with Modi on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and worldwide issues.

The low-priced carrier started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March this year. Pakistan, however, has extended its partial airspace ban on eastern border with India until 14 June.

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