Islamabad: Adding to the already bitter bilateral ties, five Indian diplomats in Pakistan are likely to be expelled for allegedly being part of a spy ring, media reports citing sources said on Wednesday.
According to Pakistani media, Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri, Commercial Counsellor in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, has been identified as a “RAW station chief”, while Balbir Singh, the First Secretary Press Information, has been identified as an officer of the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB). Amarjeet Singh Bhatti who is working as a visa attach, Vijay Kumar and Mundhawan Nanda Kumar, who are stationed at the Indian High Commission, are said to be agents of the Research and Analysis Wing.
Quoting sources, the report said, the five were “reportedly running a network of individuals involved in subversive activities in Pakistan”. Media quoted a source as saying that recently expelled Indian diplomat Surjeet Singh “was also a part of Balbir’s network”.
“Balbir Singh was helping the Indian IB operatives to carry out subversive activities in Pakistan,” it further added.
Wednesday’s development comes amid reports that six officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi have been expelled for alleged spying. Last week, Pakistan had declared Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. Singh’s expulsion followed that of a Pakistani High Commission official in New Delhi, Mehboob Akhtar, on charges of working for the Inter-Services Intelligence spy wing.
In March, Pakistan said it had arrested a “serving Indian naval intelligence officer” Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan for allegedly working for RAW.
Relations between the two rivals have been strained since the past few months, following the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base, which India bas blamed on terrorists from Pakistan, and the long unrest in Kashmir Valley, which India has accused Pakistan of fomenting. The September 18 terror attack on an army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, that left 19 soldiers dead has flared tensions, an attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
India has said it carried out “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads in Pakistan as retribution.