JK News Today     (Commentary)

Delhi has  rubbished Pakistan media reports  that   India and Pakistan were in a race to expel each other’s diplomats  because of the tensions between the two countries  have escalated  due to the violent skirmishes on borders.

This might  sound  as a note of relief  against the backdrop of the deafening and  earth-shattering bangs on borders in which both sides have  suffered civilian and military  casualties, but is that enough. This question has assumed the significance the way a  stand off has stepped in between the two South Asian neighbours whose confrontationist mode has  disappointed the  world.

Both Delhi and Islamabad have  charged diplomats of  India and Pakistan  with  “ spying”. Some are “ ISI” agents in  Pakistan High Commission  in India, and Pakistan has dubbed the Indian diplomats in Indian High Commission as “ RAW “operatives. ISI and RAW are spy agencies of Pakistan and India respectively.

While the security agencies have better knowledge about the background of the  diplomats   in the host countries, what is troubling  is the timing of this expose and tit-for –tat expulsion of them .

Express Tribune  newspaper of Pakistan reported on Friday  that  “ Pakistan  and India may temporarily recall their high commissioners in the wake of the latest diplomatic debacle triggered after the cover of certain officials posted in each other’s capitals was revealed by the two sides through media leaks, officials said on Thursday. The paper did not name the officials .”

The fresh slide in ties, which have already been at their lowest point since the attack on an Indian military base in Occupied Kashmir in September, may also lead to a ‘scaling down’ of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours.

The latest spat started after Indian police last week detained a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Deli for questioning over espionage charges. Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.

“However, India, using a statement Delhi police extracted from Akhtar through coercive means, implicated other Pakistani staffers. The identities of at least six such officials were leaked to the Indian media, jeopardising their security. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi,” the newspaper said.

In what appeared to be a 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 disclosure left New Delhi with no other options but to withdraw the named officials.

This development would help neither side,  Delhi and Islamabad must work out  restore-the trust diplomacy . There is no escape from this .