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India lifts ban on overflights by Pakistani Aircraft

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    India lifts ban on overflights by Pakistani Aircraft

    What was the whole point of banning them?Pakistan had also responded and it caused the Indian westbound flights alot of nuisance...

    NEW DELHI, June 10: India on Monday lifted a five-month-old ban on the use of its airspace by Pakistani aircraft, but diplomats said the apparently grudging gesture would help New Delhi materially more than effecting any substantial easing of tensions between the two countries.

    "The government has decided that with effect from today, all restrictions placed since January 1 this year on Pakistani aircraft and Pakistan Airlines to overfly Indian territory are lifted," an external affairs ministry spokesperson told reporters.

    She added that the announcement did not grant an implied approval for landing facilities in India to Pakistani planes which would be dealt separately by the various government agencies.

    However, in a rare admission of something positive coming India's way from the Pakistani side, the spokesperson said there had been a perceptible change in "cross-border terrorism and infiltration" and that Monday's announcement was in response to some concrete promises made by Pakistan.

    There was nothing to suggest however that hopes expressed last week by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage of diplomatic gestures by India would inch beyond the bland announcement about the use of airspace.

    US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is due to arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday to take stock of the situation on the border and to nudge the two countries to end their standoff. Mr Rumsfeld is scheduled to travel to Islamabad the next day.

    Indian media reports have indicated that a further gesture could include dispatching some diplomats back to their posts in Islamabad with a reciprocal move from Pakistan. The Indian high commissioner who was recalled from Islamabad following the Dec 13 attack on parliament, has since been posted to the United Nations, but there is no indication of seeking an agreement for his successor.

    Militarily, there are hopes that Indian warships located in combat formations in the Arabian Sea could be moved to peacetime positions.

    Diplomats said the absence of any gesture for free movement of people across the border suggested that the eyeball to eyeball military confrontation was not likely to abate yet to allow that to happen soon.

    Star News quoted reports saying the United States was likely to propose deployment of a helicopter-borne international force to monitor any infiltration of militants into Kashmir.

    The proposed plan is expected to be put forth by Secretary Rumsfeld. The idea has been welcomed by Pakistan, but India remains firmly opposed to any "internationalization of an internal matter". However, President Pervez Musharraf was quoted as saying on Monday that military tensions would remain high as long as the forces remained deployed along the borders.

    The general said he expected New Delhi to start a dialogue process on Kashmir in response to steps initiated by his government to stop infiltration of militants.

    "We are watching. I have to see what their exact response is. I am not very clear what their response is. The response we expect is initiation of dialogue process on Kashmir. There are other minor responses, which we will keep examining and what they are really mean," he told reporters before leaving for a visit to UAE and Saudi Arabia.

    About the chances of reduction of military tensions, he said: "As long as the forces remain deployed and as long as there is capability with the forces on the border to take actions at short notice, the danger is not over".

    A Pakistani official in New Delhi said that Monday's gesture, though inadequate, at least appeared to give the impression that things were moving in the right direction.

    There were bonanzas for Indian business at the major bourses as war clouds receded. India's key share index finished at a three-week high on Monday, as investors bought beaten down frontline stocks after tensions between nuclear armed foes seemed to ease.

    Quote from the Article:
    but diplomats said the apparently grudging gesture would help New Delhi materially more
    If Pakistan lifts the ban on Indian aircrafts using Pakistani air space, then this indeed will help the Indians more.

    [This message has been edited by 2bornot2b (edited June 11, 2002).]


      >>What was the whole point of banning them?<<

      Spock War is the last resort.
      All these are diplomatic measures.
      If they are being revised that means war is not on.

      Still, I guess India will keep the army on alert for some more time.

      They want to verify that there are no Pakistan aided infiltrations for one thing.
      Nodoubt Amreekans will help them with hardware on that.


        Actually, this move is an anticipated one on the part of New Delhi to put and end to the financial losses it was incurring on the west bound flight detours... India has more air traffic than Pakistan and is awaiting Pakistan to lift its side of the ban, so that they can proceed with normal operations... Diplomatic move... What a joke...


          Yes, India needs PAK airspace more than PAF needs Indian airspace because of the "great circles" which airplanes follow while flying.

          My opinion is that either India is having mood swings or it has finally realized that closing airspace to PAK will not stop their MIGs from spontaneously (spelling error? :-]) crashing.


            so far Pakistan has not made any quick decisions or allowed india the use of its airspace... interesting...


            KARACHI: Pakistan has reacted very coolly to the Indian offer of opening its airspace for Pakistani passenger aircraft and as yet has not decided to restore its suspended flights.

            Neither the government had responded to India in the like manner nor directed us to utilise the option, highly placed sources in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told The News. "We are waiting for directives from the Ministry of Defence for the issuance of notem," he said, adding that there was complete silence in that regard.

            The federal government was watching the situation critically and restoration of flights to India was impossible without complete diffusion of the war-like situation, he said. He said it was a fact that opening of Indian airspace for Pakistani aircraft was an economic decision. The Indian government desired a reply in the same tone and was waiting for announcement of opening of Pakistani airspace for Indian aircraft.

            Air India is facing huge losses due to closure of Pakistani airspace. Air routes over Pakistan and Afghanistan were the shortest routes for Indian planes for Europe, Central Asia, Russia and US.

            The source said that they were not puppets in the hands of the Indian government and would not act according their desire, especially as India had closed its airspace first. "There is no chance of restoration of PIA flights before mid July," a high official of PIA confirmed while replying to The News query about the schedule for flights to India and the Far East. "We are not in hurry as our losses are comparatively minimal," he said.

            Technically, PIA could not start the operation by itself, he said. "We have to wait for the notem from the CAA," he added. Although PIA had been introducing new sections for Europe, Canada and US to meet the increased demand during the summer season, the management had not prepared any plan for flights to India so far, PIA officials said.


              I never thought that India would be scared of PIA planes. Figures. Look at what they've got: Russian MiGs--wait, let me check...yup...they stil haven't crashed all of them.