India to reduce Pakistan High Commission staff strength by 50 per cent over 'acts of espionage'

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Jun 23, 2020, 06:17 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

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India would cut staff in its own embassy in Islamabad by the same amount, the statement by India’s foreign ministry said. There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan.

Ministry of External Affairs of India said on Tuesday that it would reduce the headcount in Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%, following what it said was “acts of espionage” by officials there.

Also read | Two Pak High Commision officials caught spying; declared persona non grata by India

India would cut staff in its own embassy in Islamabad by the same amount, the statement by India’s foreign ministry said. There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan.

Also read: Pakistan espionage case — Spies used fake Aadhar card, caught red-handed in Karol Bagh

"The Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan was summoned today to the Ministry of External Affairs and informed that India had repeatedly expressed concern about the activities of officials of his High Commission. They have been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organizations. The activities of the two officials caught red-handed and expelled on 31 May 2020 was one example in that regard," a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

"While their officials indulged in actions that are not in conformity with their privileged status in the High Commission, Pakistan has in parallel engaged in a sustained campaign to intimidate the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying on their legitimate diplomatic functions. The recent abduction at gunpoint of two Indian officials and their severe ill-treatment underlines the extent to which Pakistan has gone in that direction. These officials who have returned to India on 22 June 2020 have provided graphic details of the barbaric treatment that they experienced at the hands of Pakistani agencies. The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism," it added.

Earlier on June 1, two visa assistants of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi have been apprehended by the Delhi Police Special Cell for allegedly indulging in espionage activities.

The government had declared both officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country.

(With inputs from agencies)

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