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RTI reveals 'Modi's hug to Nawaz' costed Rs 2.86 lakh to India

Divya Hemnani | Updated on: 19 February 2018, 13:04 IST

Pakistan has billed India Rs 2.86 lakh as route navigation charges for IAF aircraft used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a stopover in Lahore and visits to Russia, Afghanistan, Iran and Qatar, an RTI response shows. On December 25, 2015, the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requested Modi for a brief stopover at Lahore.

The activist Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra gathered data for his RTI application and showed that till June 2016, Indian Air Craft was used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visits to 11 countries which includes Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Qatar, Australia, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Fiji, and Singapore.

Batra gave a copy of the RTI responses, received from August last year to January 30, 2018, to PTI.

The stopover at Lahore took place when Modi was returning from Russia and Afghanistan. A bill of Rs 1.49 lakh has been charged for that visit as route navigation charges, records accessed under the RTI Act from the Indian High Commission in Pakistan show.

During the unexpected stopover at Lahore, Modi received a warm welcome by Sharif at the Allama Iqbal International Airport. Modi also received a red carpet welcome as the PM's special Indian Air Force Boeing 737 plane touched down at 4.50 pm.

After the grand welcome, Modi took a helicopter to Sharif's Raiwind palatial residence on the outskirts of Lahore to attend Sharif's birthday celebration.

Pakistani authorities imposed a bill on Modi of Rs 77,215 as route navigation charges. The RTI response shows, Modi used an IAF aircraft to visit Iran on May 22-23, 2016, and Rs 59,215 when he visited Qatar on June 4-6, 2016. For both the visits, he flew over Pakistan.

According to the data collected, a total of about Rs 2 crore has been spent on foreign visits of the Prime Minister during the period for the use of IAF aircraft. For the Prime Minister's visits,  the bills are borne by the External Affairs Ministry.

First published: 19 February 2018, 11:46 IST