Sniper gun Kashmir 20190802
An Indian army officer displays a sniper gun recovered during a search operation along the Amarnath route, during a joint press conference in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: Given the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, central civil aviation authorities have advised airlines to spare additional capacity that can be deployed to Srinagar in case of an emergency, sources said on Friday.

The advisory came hours after the Indian Army, citing intelligence inputs, said Pakistan-based terrorists were planning to target the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.

The Army's disclosure prompted the Jammu and Kashmir administration to ask the yatris and tourists to "curtail" their stay in the Valley and leave immediately.

"DGCA has advised airlines to remain ready. If there is a need, airlines should be ready to run extra flights," a source privy to the development told PTI.

"Around 8.45pm, the situation at the Srinagar airport was checked by the DGCA and it was found to be normal. It was found that there is no need to run extra flights right now. But if the need arises later on, the airlines have been advised to remain ready to run extra flights," the source added.

Quick deployment

According to government sources, airlines have been advised to free up capacity that can be quickly deployed to the state so that tourists and pilgrims can be flown-out. On their part, airlines such as Air India, IndiGo and Vistara have waived rescheduling, cancellation charges for all flights to and from Srinagar.

"In view of the current security situation in Srinagar and the Government advisory regarding it, we are providing a full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all flights to/from Srinagar till Aug 09," IndiGo said on its official Twitter handle.

Vistara tweeted: "Due to prevailing security situation in Kashmir, we are waiving change and cancellation fee for flights to/from Jammu and Kashmir for next 7 days (till August 9)."

In a statement, Air India said: "In view of the prevailing circumstances, the national carrier has decided to give a full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all Air India flights to/from Srinagar till August 15."

The development assumes significances after the Jammu and Kashmir government issued a security advisory for tourists and pilgrims on Amarnath Yatra to curtail their pilgrimage.

In an advisory, the state government on Friday said: "Keeping in view the latest intelligence inputs of terror threats, with specific targeting of the Amarnath Yatra, and given the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir Valley, in the interest of safety and security of the tourists and Amarnath Yatris, it is advised that they may curtail their stay in the Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return as soon as possible."

Trump renews J&K mediation offer; India says no thanks

As US President Donald Trump, in an off-hand manner, renewed his offer of mediation in the Kashmir issue, India on Friday firmly rejected the offer, saying that any discussion on Kashmir, if warranted, will only be with Pakistan, and only bilaterally.

Hours after Trump told reporters in Washington that "it is up to Prime Minister Modi" to accept his offer to intervene in Kashmir, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, during a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Bangkok, conveyed "in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally".

Jaishankar tweeted: "Wide ranging discussions with @SecPompeo on regional issues. Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion onKashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally."