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Pakistan on Wednesday named two Indian diplomats as members of India’s external intelligence agency and internal intelligence bureau. On Thursday, it made the names of six others public. Photo: AFP
Pakistan on Wednesday named two Indian diplomats as members of India’s external intelligence agency and internal intelligence bureau. On Thursday, it made the names of six others public. Photo: AFP

Pakistani moves against diplomatic norms: MEA

Pakistan charged Indian diplomats in Islamabad with espionage and named them in the local media

New Delhi: India on Thursday said that Pakistan’s move of charging Indian diplomats in Islamabad with espionage and naming them in the local media had increased risks to peace and security emanating from the country’s support to terrorism against India.

Rejecting as “baseless" and “unsubstantiated" the allegations made by Pakistan against some Indian officials, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, India “categorically denies those allegations".

“The government also protests strongly the manner in which names and photos of the eight Indian officials—four of them holders of diplomatic passport—have been published. This is against basic norms of diplomatic practice and courtesy," Swarup said.

Pakistan on Wednesday named two Indian diplomats as members of India’s external intelligence agency and internal intelligence bureau and released their photos to the media. On Thursday, it made the names of six others public.

The developments have further strained already tense relations between the two countries over Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism and its allegations of human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir.

“It is especially regrettable that Pakistani authorities have chosen to level these allegations after deciding to recall, on their own, six officials of the Pakistan high commission," Swarup said. Some of the six Pakistani officials could have been named by a Pakistan high commission staffer caught “red-handed" last week while engaging in “anti-India activities", Swarup said.

The mission strength of the Indian high commission in Islamabad is 110, which includes diplomatic and support staff who are all Indian citizens. Pakistan has a similar number of staff in New Delhi.

Swarup said the allegations against Indian officials were “an after-thought and a crude attempt to target these officials for no fault of theirs", adding that “We also regret the fact that Pakistan’s step adds to the risks to peace and security in the region emanating from Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism against its neighbours, its denial of the problem and deflection of its responsibility by resorting to fanciful accusations."

According to Swarup, some of the Indian officials “falsely implicated" were working in areas promoting people-to-people interaction and furthering economic contacts.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan foreign office spokesman Mohammed Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad that the eight Indian diplomats named for alleged espionage were involved in “subversion and supporting of terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh, especially Karachi."

They were also leveraging “their position as diplomats for ingress into influential circles for gathering inside information" and working to damage Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

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