India asks Pak to reduce High Commission staff by half in seven days

After 2001, this is the first time a 50 per cent downgrade of the two High Commissions is taking place

Pakistan High Commission, Indian High Commission, India, Pakistan, Ministry of External Affairs
Tuesday’s move by India came after two Indian High Commission staffers were detained by Pakistani authorities for several hours on June 15. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

India has asked Pakistan to reduce the strength of its High Commission in New Delhi by half in seven days. India will also recall the same number of officials from its commission in Islamabad.

The move comes amid the ongoing diplomatic tension between the two nations, reports quoted External Affairs Ministry sources as saying.

After 2001, this is the first time a 50 per cent downgrade of the two High Commissions is taking place. In that year, the following a terrorist attack on Parliament, the then External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh, had asked for a reduction in strength to be completed within 48 hours.

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Tuesday’s move by India came after two Indian High Commission staffers were detained by Pakistani authorities for several hours on June 15. They were released only after New Delhi lodged a protest.

“The behaviour of Pakistan is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism,” NDTV quoted the government as saying.

“Officials who returned to India on June 22, 2020, have provided graphic details of the barbaric treatment that they experienced at the hands of Pakistani agencies,” the government said on Tuesday in reference to that incident.

Earlier this month, India had expelled two officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on charges of ‘spying.’

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