NEW DELHI – Indian authorities on Tuesday withdrew three staff members of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad who were accused of being involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
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“Three of the eight officials have returned to India today,” a diplomatic source told The Express Tribune.
Last week, Pakistan claimed to have busted a network of Indian spies ‘working under diplomatic cover’. Reportedly, at least eight staffers of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had been identified as serving officers of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The latest spat started after Indian police last week detained a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi for questioning over espionage charges. Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.
In an apparent tit for tat move, Pakistan on Thursday confirmed that eight officials posted in India’s High Commission in Islamabad were agents of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB). The revelation forced New Delhi to withdraw the named officials.
An official privy to the developments expressed India had breached an ‘understanding’ by revealing the identities of certain Pakistani officials posted in New Delhi. The official on the condition of anonymity said both sides knew that certain officials worked under cover and they did so with the full knowledge of host country.
Meanwhile, speaking at his weekly news briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria confirmed that eight Indian staff members of the country’s high commission belonged to RAW and IB.
They were identified as Rajesh Kumar Agnihotir, commerical counselor and RAW station chief, Anurag Singh, first commercial secretary, Amerdeep Singh Bhatti, attache visa, Dharmendra Sodhi, staff member, Vijay Kumar Verma, staff, Madhavan Nanda Kumar, staff, Balbir Singh, first secretary press and information, IB station chief and Jayabalan Senthil, assistant personnel welfare officer.
Zakaria said they had been found involved in coordinating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignments.