WORLD

Pakistan lifts ban on Indian flights, opens airspace

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Pakistan on Tuesday opened its eastern airspace for all civilian aircraft including that of Indian airlines, an official said.

"Today we have issued notice and opened the eastern airspace for all civil aircrafts including airlines from India," Ahmar Niazi, an official of Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan, told Anadolu Agency over on phone.

Islamabad had fully closed its airspace on Feb. 26 after Indian jets intruded Pakistan's airspace and bombed a suspected militant hideout near the border.

Indian airlines have suffered losses in millions due to airspace closure by Pakistan.

Air India, the Indian national carrier, lost Rs 491 crore ($71.6 million) till July 2 while IndiGo suffered a loss of Rs 25.1 crore ($3.7 million) till May 31, India Today, an Indian newspaper reported quoted Hardeep Singh Puri, minister of state for civil aviation.

The two longtime rivals have been locked in diplomatic and military tensions following a suicide attack on an army convoy in Jammu and Kashmir in February that killed at least 40 Indian troops.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of colluding with militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, which reportedly claimed responsibility for the brazen attack. Pakistan denied the charge.

Tensions mounted further after Indian jets intruded Pakistan's airspace and bombed a suspected militant hideout near the border in February. The next day, Pakistan's air force claimed downing two jets and captured a pilot, who was later released.

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