Did Pakistan deny its airspace for Indian planes to carry relief materials to Turkey?
RUMINT: Pakistan had denied airspace to Indian NDRF plane with relief material to #Turkey . It had to take a detour.
Turkey and Syria experienced devastating earthquakes leaving more than 15000 people dead and several injured earlier this week. India sends relief materials along with NDRF Search & Rescue teams with necessary equipment to Turkey after the announcement from Prime Minister’s Office. Six planes have reached Turkey so far to carry out relief operations.
In this situation, posts claiming that Pakistan denied airspace for the Indian NDRF plane carrying relief materials to Turkey are shared widely. Some of the posts with such a claim can be seen here, here, here, here, and here. Multiple mainstream media and news portals too published that Pakistan denied Indian aircrafts carrying relief materials. Some of them can be seen below.
What is the truth?
We could see many Twitter users including journalists tweeting that India avoided Pakistan airspace. Yusuf Unjhawala, Editor at Defence Forum of India in one of his tweets dated 7, February 2023 mentioned that the second flight carrying relief materials to use the same path as first, avoiding Pakistan airspace.
Aditya Raj Kaul, Executive Editor, TV9 Network mentioned in one of his tweets dated 7, February 2023 that Indian Military aircraft do not fly over Pakistan.
Sidhant Sibal, Diplomatic & Defence Correspondent, WIONews also mentioned in one of his tweets dated 7, February 2023 that Indian flights do not use Pakistan airspace. Adding to it, he mentioned that India did not seek permission to use Pakistan airspace. Further, he highlighted that India did not use Pakistan airspace even in 2021 during the evacuation of Indians from Afghanistan.
Ankiit Koomar, Journalist tweeted that there is no confirmation if IAF sought permission to use Pakistan airspace. He added an image mentioning that no indication of inclination to use Pakistan airspace is shown. He quoted IAF’s clarification from the India Today article to confirm that Indian flights do not fly over Pakistan.
“Our aircrafts don’t fly over Pakistan as this is our standard operating procedure. Our planes take a longer route by flying from the Gujarat side to avoid Pakistani air space while going towards Europe or West Asia,” an IAF official said.” #Turkeyhttps://t.co/t09Jnv5EE5 https://t.co/gc8VIwBrPn
— Ankiit Koomar (@AnkiitKoomar) February 7, 2023
India Today article dated 7, February 2023 reported that Indian Air Force officials clarified that in line with the standard operating procedure, its aircraft have avoided flying over Pakistan. The article mentions that the clarification was given after the speculation that Pakistan denied its airspace for Indian flights.
There are news articles stating that Pakistan denied airspace for the use of Indian leaders in 2019. The articles can be found here and here. But the flights to Turkey use a path avoiding Pakistan airspace as per SOP.
It is found that the claim Pakistan denies airspace for Indian aircraft to carry relief materials to Turkey is completely false as Indian aircrafts do not fly over Pakistan as per SOP.