AT News Report
KABUL: The government of Afghanistan is trying to use China’s space for an air corridor to India, the civil aviation department said, a move after Pakistan closed its airspace for Afghan air transport in the wake of tensions with its immediate rival India.
A spokesman for the civil aviation department said Monday that primary works were underway to encourage China let Afghan cargo planes use its airspace to India.
“Now, our colleagues are technically working on the matter and we plan to get connection with India via China. This is a short distance and would help cheaper expenses. The process has so far had a 50 to 60 per cent progress and we hope it is soon finalized so that our planes start flights through this airspace,” said Mohammad Qasem Rahimi.
Pakistan closed its airspace for all flights after Indian warplanes targeted what was said to be terrorist hideouts in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, after a terrorist attack killed dozens of Indian troops. New Delhi accused Islamabad of harboring and supporting terrorists responsible for the attack.
Afghan air taxis since then are not allowed to cross Pakistan airspace to India despite Islamabad opened its airspace for other airlines. Afghan passenger planes need to use Iran’s airspace to fly to India, a five-hour way which also costs very much.
The civil aviation department said that Pakistan had promised to reopen its airspace for Afghan airlines from April 24.
Rahimi warned of a retaliatory act against Pakistan airlines if it was clear that the sanction is only on Afghan planes.
Afghans who travel to India for business and medical treatment, say that Pakistan’s act has affected their work as it has always tried to trample Afghan interests. They say that Pakistan-India problems should not harm Afghanistan, asking the government to seriously pay attention for a resolve.
Pakistan’s airspace is the shortest way between Afghanistan and India.