PAKISTAN AIRSPACE TO REMAIN SHUT FOR INDIAN FLIGHTS
15, May 2019
Prelims level : International Mains level : GS -II Governance, Constitution, Social Justice and IR
Why in News?
- Pakistan on May 15 decided not to lift its airspace ban for Indian flights till May 30, as Islamabad is awaiting the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in India.
- Pakistan fully closed its airspace after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot on February 26. However, Pakistan opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. Owing to the flight ban on its airspace by India, Pakistan has suspended its operation for Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur which is causing a loss of millions of rupees per day. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) used to operate four flights to Kuala Lumpur, two to Bangkok and two to New Delhi. The airlines and civil aviation authorities of both the countries are enduring massive losses. The flights between Europe to Far-East are not only facing huge financial losses, but the flight duration has also increased, while the airlines have also increased their ticket prices.
India Bombs Jaish-e-Muhammad Camp in Pakistan
- Twelve days after the Pulwama attack, in an aerial surgical strike, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s (JeM) terror-training camp in Balakot in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The operation was carried out by 12 Mirage-
2000 fighter jets, after intelligence inputs that the said JeM facility is crowded with 200-325 terrorists.
- India has said that the strike was based on hard intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the camp.
- By calling it an intelligence-led operation, the government was trying to send a message to the global audience that the airstrikes were not done at some arbitrarily chosen place but were part of a well-considered action.
- India said that strike was “non-military preemptive action” was important for two reasons: By calling it non-military, India wanted to reassure everyone that it is not an act against the Pakistani military.
- The words “preemptive action” were to suggest that the airstrike was not an act of revenge or retribution but an act of self-defense to prevent a likely terror attack in the future.
- India has received support for its air strike from several countries like Australia and France. The countries recognized India’s right to self-defense, and asked Pakistan to put an end to operations of terrorist groups established on its territory.
- The US said that India and Pakistan should exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost and avoid further military activity.
- The British government called on India and Pakistan to pursue diplomatic solutions.
- China has said that the two countries should keep restraint and do more to improve bilateral relations.
- With the exception of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, there has been no global criticism of India’s statement on the strikes.
- Pakistan has denied that the Indian strike caused any damage on the ground. This may obviate the need for retaliatory strikes, or if Pakistan responds this could escalate the situation with a military response.
- Pakistan could also make a break from its past, and begin to shut down the terror camps on its soil, which would win friends internationally and ensure peace in the region.
- Surgical strikes are not a one-stop solution, uprooting terrorism will require sustained efforts on by India diplomatically at the global level, which also includes the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).