President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind Image Credit: PTI

NEW DELHI: Islamabad has denied President Ram Nath Kovind permission to use its airspace for flying to Iceland amid tensions with New Delhi after it scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status last month, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said today.

According to news agency AFP, Qureshi attributed the reason for its decision to India's "recent behaviour" on bilateral issues.

India, however, contends that its decision on Jammu and Kashmir was a strictly internal matter that Pakistan has no right to question it. Indian Ministry of External Affairs' Raveesh Kumar said: "We regret the decision of Government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance."

Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a tri-nation trip to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia from Monday, during which he is expected to brief the top leadership of those countries on issues such as cross-border terrorism.

According to Qureshi, the unusual decision to deny President Kovind permission to use the country's airspace was approved by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in view of the Kashmir situation.

Pakistan had closed its airspace to Indian traffic after an aerial dogfight following the Pulwama terror attack in February ratcheted up tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi.

However, it reopened its skies in July, ending months of restrictions that affected major international air routes