ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday ordered India to cut its embassy staff in Islamabad by half, just hours after New Delhi announced a similar decision. The reciprocal action comes amid heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian rival countries over their long-running Kashmir territorial dispute.
While the expulsion of diplomats is not uncommon due to the historically acrimonious relationship, the latest diplomatic dispute began late last month when India expelled two Pakistani officials for “espionage,” prompting Pakistan to do the same in response.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs alleged that officials at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi have been "engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organizations” in violation of international conventions on diplomatic relations.
“Therefore, the government of India has taken the decision to reduce the staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%,” the ministry noted. The Pakistani charge d’affaires was summoned and told to implement the decision within a week, the ministry added.
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