New low in India-Pakistan ties; diplomatic staff to be trimmed
New Delhi, Nov 04: Signalling a fresh slide in ties, Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their high commissioners and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions in the wake of the latest diplomatic spat over the spying episode, a media report said today.
The latest spat started last week after a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was detained by police for questioning over espionage charges, the Express Tribune reported.
The fresh slide in ties may also lead to a ‘scaling down’ of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours, the paper said.
The tension intensified after tit-fit-tat naming of diplomatic staff for alleged spy work by both sides.
Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.
“However, India, using a statement Delhi police extracted from Akhtar through coercive means, implicated other Pakistani staffers. The identities of at least six such officials were leaked to the media, jeopardising their security. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi,” it said.
In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan on Thursday claimed that eight officials posted in India’s High Commission in Islamabad were agents of RAW and IB. The disclosure left New Delhi with no other options but to withdraw the named officials, the paper said.