India expels Pakistani visa official for 'espionage'

New Delhi police said the official had been recruiting Indian nationals for two and a half years to spy for Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in return for cash.

India expels Pakistani visa official for 'espionage'

India announced Thursday it was expelling a Pakistani visa official for suspected spying after he was briefly detained carrying sensitive defence documents, with tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours already running high.

"Delhi police crime branch has busted an espionage racket run by a kingpin working in the Pakistan high commission," said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police on crime.

The official was detained on Wednesday at the Delhi zoo where he had arranged to meet two alleged Indian co-conspirators to exchange information including troop deployment along the border.

"They used to meet once in a month at a pre-decided place to exchange documents and money," Yadav told reporters in New Delhi, adding that the two Indians from the northern state of Rajasthan were arrested.

Police extensively questioned the official, named as Mehmood Akhtar, before releasing him on diplomatic grounds.

India's foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar summoned Pakistan's high commissioner to inform him of the decision to expel the official within 48 hours after declaring him "persona non grata".

Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared since a raid last month on an Indian army base near the de-facto border dividing Kashmir killed 19 soldiers, the worst such attack in more than a decade.

India blamed militants in Pakistan and said it had responded by carrying out strikes across the heavily-militarised border, although Islamabad denies these took place.

Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across the border known as the Line of Control in Kashmir, but sending ground troops over the line is rare.

Last Mod: 27 Ekim 2016, 15:06
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