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First India-bound flight passes through Pakistani airspace since conflict earlier this year

A flight from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi is the first to pass through Pakistan in the last three months, local media says. Entry points for flights on the Indian-Pakistani border had been closed following their conflict in February.

The Etihad Airways flight was able to save 40 minutes by cutting through Pakistan on Sunday evening, it has been reported. Pakistan agreed to open the singular route near the Western Indian state of Gujarat in response to India’s offer to open 11 points of entry along their border in return.

The mutual de-escalation effort was agreed last week was. While Pakistan has re-opened its airspace to outside traffic after shutting it down completely in February, it had remained strict on traffic entering from the eastern border through India.

Officials from India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) say that all of the entry points will be gradually re-opened, local media reports.

Islamabad closed off its airspace following India’s February 27 airstrikes on alleged terrorist targets in Pakistani territory, provoking a reciprocal measures from New Delhi. The Indian Air Force carried out the strike in retaliation for a terrorist attack, claimed by the Pakistan based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which killed 44 Indian police officers. The incident provoked mutual strikes and aerial dogfights at the border which nearly led to an all-out war between the nuclear armed neighbors.