In the wake of the spy scandal involving staffers of its High Commissioner in New Delhi, Pakistan on Wednesday claimed that eight Indian High Commission officials and staffers were part of an espionage ring operating out of the Indian High Commission.
Pakistan withdrew six of its officials and staffers from India, and they went back to Islamabad on Wednesday. The six Pakistani officials, including four senior diplomats, named for spying for a High Commission staffer, who was arrested and expelled last week for espionage, left India for home as bilateral ties continued to slide, The Indian Express reported.
Pakistan’s TV channel Geo News reported on Wednesday that “five diplomats at the Indian High Commission have been found to be part of a spy network and involved in activities to destabilise Pakistan by facilitating and funding terrorism”.
They named Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri (commercial counsellor), Balbir Singh (First Secretary, Press & Information), Amarjeet Singh Bhatti (visa attaché) and two more staffers, Vijay Kumar and Mundhawan Nanda Kumar.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Indian government sources said that “details of eight Indian diplomats have been put in the public domain by Pakistan, compromising their security”. The sources told the newspaper that this affects the families of the diplomats and South Block will take a call soon.
This tit-for-tat response took place as Indian and Pakistani diplomats had been expelled last week. This came in the wake of an alleged spy ring that led Delhi Police to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
According to the report, an Indian official said, “It was expected that Pakistan will also name Indian officials… now Delhi has to decide whether and when and how to withdraw the persons…because it becomes difficult for them to interact with their contacts in the wake of revelations in the media. It does not matter whether the disclosures are correct or not…the damage is done.” The decision to withdraw these diplomats will be taken in the next few days, sources said.