BAN LIFTED … Pakistan lifts ban on India flights imposed after Balakot IAF attack



NEW DELHI: Pakistan announced Tuesday the lifting of a ban on flights to and from India, imposed after the Balakot IAF air strike on February 26. Reports said Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic and lifted the ban on Indian flights. Air India had, in the past over four months, been diverting its flights to the western sector, which meant more of flying time, increased fares, and other logistical difficulties.

The lift of ban comes into effect from 12.41am. India had, in a retaliatory step, closed flights from Pakistan overflying India to destinations in the east, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Both nations suffered huge financial losses, also as every flight overflying a country will pay a tax to the respective country, and this income was lost for the four month period.

The Balakot air strike by Indian Air Force, targeting terror hideouts and no civilian installation, came at dead of night when Pakistan was caught unawares. Indian fighter jets had flown upto 80km inside the Pakistani territory, close to the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, without any effective challenge from the Pakistani Air Force. Though PAF scrambled its fighter jets in a hurry, they avoided a confrontation after seeing the might of Indian formations.

The IAF strike on JeM terror modules in Balakot came after a deadly terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in which scores of soldiers were killed. After Pulwama, PM Modi had said there will be retaliatory strikes. However, the Modi government is taking cautious steps with Pakistan, and making it sure that no civilian casualties occurred both in the Balakot strike as also in the previous Surgical Strikes near the LOC. 

PM Modi gives the impression that he’s still willing to cooperate with Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also seen to have an interest in Pakistan having peaceful coexistence with India. Imran Khan feels it is not advisable in long term to depend too much on China, or cock a snook at India, do Beining’s bidding or oblige it in ways as to worsen relations with India.  — IHN-NN


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