India initiates diplomatic spat with Pakistan
In another sign of worsening ties between the two neighbours, Pakistan on Wednesday asked India to cut down its size of diplomatic emissaries from the country by 50 per cent.
The call came in after New Delhi on Tuesday asked Islamabad to reduce the size of its staff from the country by the same number.
“If 50pc of our embassy staff comes back, then the Indian Embassy staff will also go back,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday.
He called India’s request for reducing the embassy staff in violation of the Vienna Convention.
India said the decision to cut down Pakistani embassy staff in India came after it expelled two officials on allegations of espionage. India on May 31 asked two Pakistani embassy officials to leave the country after briefly detaining them.
Qureshi said the call for staff cuts is unwarranted and claimed the move was political in nature to appease the country’s masses after India’s army suffered an embarrassing defeat from China in the disputed Gulwan Valley.
He said that after facing defeat in the Himalayan episode, India was trying to deflect and launch a false flag operation in Pakistan. “There is no doubt about what India is trying to do. Whatever India does, it will receive a response in kind,” he said.
Earlier, Pakistan arrested two Indian embassy officials in a hit and run case in Islamabad. After briefly detaining the two officials, Pakistan sent them back to India through the Wagah border. India rejected these claims and said the move was tit-for-tat for the arrest of Pakistani officials in India last month.
The ties between the country have gone from bad to worse over the last two years. Last year, the two cut trade ties after India claimed it had destroyed a terror outpost in the city of Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan, however, claimed the attack never happened.
Within days however, the two sides came close to an all-out war after Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian warplane and captured Indian Pilot Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
To defuse tensions, Pakistan immediately released the pilot after treating him at a local hospital and serving him a cup of tea.