Spy row gets murkier as Pakistan arrests three more Indian 'agents'

Pakistan to target "moderate and large-sized cities" according to report Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 15, 2017, 11.47 AM (IST)

Pakistan has apprehended three suspected Indian spies in Pakistan's Kashmir on Saturday, days after another spy believed to be working for India's primary foreign intelligence agency was awarded a death sentence for espionage activities by a Pakistani military court.

The arrests come hours after India called off talks involving maritime security issues with Pakistan, in a further blow to the strained bilateral relations.

Indian media reports suggest three people allegedly working with India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) were rounded up by the police in Rawalkot, Poonch district, for carrying out anti-state activities.

Mohammad Khalil, Imtiaz, and Rashid, all from Taroti village in Abbaspur -- a small town located near the de-facto border separating India and Pakistan -- were arrested for allegedly bombing a police station in Pakistan's Kashmir.

Pakistani officials said the trio was apparently targeting the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)" -- a $62 billion project undertaken by China to improve Pakistan's infrastructure.

The three men have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Explosives Act and will be produced before Pakistan's anti-terrorism court.

Pakistan said they were involved with three Indian army and RAW officers -- Major Ranjeet, Major Sultan and an unnamed officer, police told Pakistan-based Geo News.

Diplomatic brinkmanship over spy's death sentence

The India-Pakistan relations hit a new low when a Pakistani military court condemned a suspected Indian spy to death sentence for attempting to foment unrest in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.

New Delhi reacted strongly to the verdict, calling the trial "farcical" and labeling the military court's injunction as "premeditated murder".

While Pakistan maintain that Jadhav was given a fair trial and was subsequently found to have been a RAW asset, India say he was a former naval officer and had no links to the establishment anymore.

New Delhi also believe that Jadhav might have been abducted by Pakistan from Iran.

India has accused Pakistan of not getting consular access to Jadhav, despite having sent 14 such requests -- the most recent being on Friday.

But Pakistan hit back by saying that Jadhav carried two passports, one with a Hindu name and the other bearing a Muslim name.

Maritime security talks called off

Earlier on Saturday (April 15), India marked its protest against the verdict by suspending maritime talks with Pakistan. 

A delegation from Pakistan led by its Maritime Security Agency (MSA) was to visit New Delhi April 16-19 to discuss issues related to the frequent arrests of fishermen transgressing maritime borders.

Unnamed sources in India's Coast Guard said the Ministry of Defence has not given clearance for the delegation's visit, according to Press Trust of India.