India Abroad

Pakistan Bills India Rs 2.86 Lakh For 'Route Navigation Charges' Of PM Modi Flights

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| February 19 , 2018 , 13:34 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is famous for his foreign relations, and frequent trips abroad. While the overall expenses of the numerous flights PM Modi took between 2014 and 2016 on Indian Air Force aircraft are in the range of Rs 2 crore, the independent bill of Pakistan is around Rs 2.86 lakh.

Pakistan has charged India Rs 2.86 lakh as route navigation charges for the IAF aircraft used by PM Modi for his trips to Russia, Afghanistan, Iran and Qatar, apart from charges for PM Modi's unscheduled stopover in Lahore in 2015.

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An RTI response to activist Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra quoted by PTI showed that from 2014 to June 2016, Indian Air Force aircrafts were used for the Prime Minister's visits to 11 nations, namely, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Qatar, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Fiji and Singapore.

While public sector airlines generally have tie-ups with different countries for smooth flights in international airspace, the charges are generally higher for private flights, as well as on unscheduled flights.

Accordingly, Pakistani authorities have imposed route navigation charges of Rs 77,215 for PM Modi's trip to Iran in May 2016 and Rs 59,215 for when he visited Qatar in June 2016.

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In comparison, PM Modi's unscheduled stopover in Lahore on December 25, 2015, on the request of then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when PM Modi had been returning from Russia and Afghanistan cost around Rs 1.49 lakh. PM Modi had been visiting Lahore on the occasion of Pakistan PM Sharif's birthday.

Generally, for foreign visits of VVIPs, the President, Vice President and the Prime Minister, an Air India aircraft is hired, which later sends the bill. For the Prime Minister's trips, the expenses are paid by the External Affairs Ministry. The costs of foreign trips include charges for fuelling, ground handling, airport charges, dearness allowance paid to the staff, hotel stay, catering and mobile for the crew, transport hiring, captain's imprest and other charges.