India has lifted all the restrictions that were imposed on air traffic back in February over the surge in hostilities with Pakistan. The move is apparently a signal to Islamabad to further de-escalate the tensions.
The decision to lift all the restrictions was announced by the Indian Air Force on Friday. Earlier today, Indian Air Force tweeted: “Temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace, imposed by the Indian Air Force on 27 Feb 19, have been removed.” Air traffic above India has been limited since February 27.
India is ready to open 11 entry points on the border with Pakistan, but that will only happen if Islamabad lifts its own air traffic restrictions as well, local media reported, citing sources with the IAF.
The move comes shortly after Pakistan extended its airspace restrictions until June 15.
“This basically is a signal from India that we are willing to lift restrictions and that Pakistan should reciprocate,” an unnamed official said.
The relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated rapidly early this year, following a suicide bomber attack on Indian paramilitary police convoy in the contested region of Kashmir on February 14. The fatal blast that killed 44 police officers was claimed by a Pakistani-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed. The attack prompted cross border air raids by Indian military, retaliatory strikes from Pakistan and culminated in a full-blown aerial dogfight between the air forces of the two countries.