India allows Pakistan PM Imran Khan to use Indian airspace during Sri Lanka visit
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to travel to Colombo on a two-day trip from February 22.
February 23, 2021 / 08:52 AM IST
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
The Indian government has allowed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's aircraft to use Indian airspace. Khan is scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka on a two-day trip from February 23.
India has allowed Khan's aircraft to use Indian airspace. He is travelling to Sri Lanka, ANI reported.
Besides his meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and attending an investors' conference, Khan was to address the Sri Lankan Parliament on February 24. However, the planned address to the Parliament has been cancelled.
Read: To avoid clash with India, Sri Lanka cancels Imran Khan's speech in Parliament
As per reports, the speech to Parliament had been included in Khan's itinerary at the Pakistan government's request. However, it was later cancelled as Sri Lanka reportedly did not want to harm ties with India.
According to a report titled 'Sri Lanka avoids clash with India by cancelling Khan's Parliament speech' by Dar Javed published in Colombo Gazette, the Colombo government cannot risk souring relations with India at the time when it is stuck in the Chinese debt-trap and India being the saviour with respect to COVID-19 vaccines.
India had recently gifted 5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccines to Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a commitment to his PM Mahinda Rajapaksa during a virtual summit in September. He had promised that India will provide all possible support to the island nation to minimise the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Sri Lankan government was also concerned about Khan raising concerns about the rights of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Colombo had made its compulsory cremation rule for those dying from COVID-19 applicable to Muslims in the country.
The government, however, later exempted the Muslims from cremation and allowed them to bury their dead after a global outcry over the issue.