NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - Pakistan has declined the request to open its airspace for Indian commercial flights and demanded that New Delhi first removes its military jets from the Pakistani-Indian border, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat, who is also the director general of the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), said on Friday.
"The Indian government approached asking us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward," Nusrat said, as quoted by the Dawn newspaper.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace for India on 27 February. The decision was initially triggered by a deadly attack on an Indian security convoy in Kashmir on 14 February that resulted in over 40 deaths. The attack was later claimed by Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Tensions escalated as India accused Pakistan of being behind the attack and supporting the terrorists, whose leader is based in Pakistan. Islamabad has rejected all allegations.
In retaliation, the Indian Air Force carried out airstrikes against what it claimed to be a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in the Pakistani part of the disputed Kashmir region. The Pakistani military then shot down two Indian military jets that had crossed the line of control separating the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir.
Kashmir is a region that has been disputed by India and Pakistan since 1947, when both countries gained independence from British rule. India and Pakistan have gone through three wars over the region but never managed to establish peace.