Avoid travel to India or Pakistan for now, Minister of Foreign Affairs advises

Malaysians are advised to postpone non-essential travel plans to Pakistan and India, amidst rising tensions between the two nations, following the deadly attack on Kashmir on February 14.

As the conflict escalates since, both India and Pakistan partially closed their airspaces and suspended commercial flights from several airports.

“In view of the gravity of this issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to advise Malaysians that they should postpone non-essential travel, particularly to the areas directly affected,” said Wisma Putra in a statement.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Putrajaya hopes to see the two nation to exercise maximum restraint as well as to re-engage in dialogue and negotiations.

“As a country with close and abiding relations with both countries, we encourage them to exercise maximum restraint, and to re-engage in dialogue and negotiations”. the statement read.

Pakistan carried out airstrikes and shot down two Indian jets, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan.

Both countries have ordered airstrikes over the several days, and tensions escalated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir had killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police earlier this month.

Why the India-Pakistan conflict matter to Malaysia

Malaysia has a long standing close relationship India and Pakistan with at least 2 million Malaysians having close family and cultural ties with both nations, according to seasoned journalist Sumisha Naidu.

She added, Malaysia and Pakistan are friendly Muslim nations.

India is Malaysia’s 10th largest trading partner. India is also that sixth largest source for tourists coming to Malaysia.

AirAsia monitoring situations

AirAsia sent out travel alerts on its North India destinations as tension between India and Pakistan escalates.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Northern India and any impact to our Amritsar and Srinagar services. Guests are encouraged to monitor their flight status at http://airasia.com/flightstatus,” it said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Indian Airlines reportedly halted services to north Indian cities namely Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradum, Jammu, Leh and Srinagar as the tension escalated.

The Associate Press also tweeted that Pakistan’s Civil Aviation has said that it shut its airspace to all commercial flights as tension between New Delhi and Islamabad, the two countries with nuclear weapons, snowballed.

[via Malay Mail: here and here]

Amin Ashaari