Pakistan closes a corridor of its air space


NEW DELHI: An Air India official said that Pakistan has closed a corridor in its airspace on Wednesday.

According to the report, the flights will have to be diverted to other routes due to the closure.

"One air corridor has been closed in Pakistani airspace, requiring a maximum of 12 minutes diversion. It will not affect us," said the Air India spokesperson.

Air India operates around 50 flights daily through Pakistani airspace. These are flights to the US, Europe and the Middle East.

On Monday, the Indian government abolished provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Article 370 granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and allowed it to have its own flag and constitution, among other rights.

On July 16, Pakistan had removed the ban and opened its airspace for all civilian traffic.

The Indian flights were not allowed to use the majority of its airspace since the Balakot airstrikes in February.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14.

On February 14, an explosives-laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing more than 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.

On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation and attacked terror camps in Balakot area in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In response, on February 27, Pakistani F-16 jets violated the Line of Control and the aerial fight ensued.

Subsequently, Indian fighter jet shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet, which landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured an Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. However, he was released on March 1st after spending nearly 60 hours in Pakistani custody.

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