External Affairs

India Denies Report of Pakistan Expelling Two Indian Diplomats For ‘Spying’

Plain-clothes policemen present two Indian men (bottom 2nd R and 2nd L), who they said are accused of spying for Pakistan. Credit: Stringer/Reuters

Plain-clothes policemen present two Indian men (bottom 2nd R and 2nd L), who they said are accused of spying for Pakistan. Credit: Stringer/Reuters

New Delhi:  After Reuters reported from Islamabad that Pakistan may expel two Indian diplomats in Islamabad for spying India rushed to dismiss the claim as “rubbish” but confirmed that as many as eight Indian diplomats would be returning back to their country for security reasons. 

Pakistani officials believe one of the two Indian men worked for the R&AW spy agency while the other spied for India’s Intelligence Bureau, said Pakistani Geo TV and most other channels, citing anonymous sources. The details of both of the men were also leaked to the media.

In New Delhi, Vikas Swarup, the spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, told Reuters the ministry was “aware” of the media reports.

“We have yet to receive any official communication in the matter,” Swarup added.

Unofficially, however, Indian sources have described the media reports of the apparent expulsion of Indian diplomats as “rubbish”. They added that India will be withdrawing eight diplomats from Islamabad as “their details have been put in the public domain by Pakistan, compromising their security.”

India and Pakistan last week announced they would each expel one of the other’s diplomats over spying claims amid growing tensions.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since the summer, when civil unrest erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir, with Islamabad lobbying globally against India and New Delhi’s crackdown on Kashmiri activists.

Tension soared after a group of gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers in September at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

India said it carried out a “surgical strike” in Pakistan as retribution, but Islamabad denied the strike took place and accuses India of inventing it to distract attention from its crackdown on protests in Kashmir.

(With inputs from Reuters)