India and Pakistan have had historic tensions dating back to a brutal partition of British India in 1947, and recently have been at loggerheads over border concerns and terror groups. Tensions have also been escalating as China, who has a historic relationship with Pakistan, and the US, who is also a close partner with India, have been at odds over trade and the coronavirus pandemic.
India issued the order to half embassy staff to Pakistan’s high commission as it as withdrew half of it’s own embassy staff from Pakistan.
New Delhi, in a strong condemnation, has said that Pakistani officials in India have “engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organisations.”
At the same time, New Delhi has also claimed that authorities in Islamabad had sponsored these acts in “a sustained campaign to intimidate (Indian officials) from carrying on their legitimate diplomatic functions”.
India has also said that the conduct of Pakistani officials was a violation of the Geneva Convention and “an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism”.
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India has order Pakistan to withdraw half of it’s embassy staff
Pakistan has been accused of espionage and funding terrorism in India
It follows India’s recent expulsion of two Pakistani high commission staff for alleged espionage.
It also follows this week, where India accused Pakistani authorities of “abducting at gunpoint” two of India’s Islamabad staff.
Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs has denied all wrongdoing, and described India’s allegations as a “smear campaign”.
It said in a statement: “The latest Indian action is a part of India’s desperate attempts to divert attention from its state terrorism and worst human rights violations in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
Pakistan has accused India of diverting attention away from their fight with China
20 Indian soldiers were killed in a skirmish with China on the border of Kashmir
Pakistani analysts believe that the move is to deflect attention away from last week’s Galwan Valley conflict between China and India.
The skirmish saw the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers at the hands of Chinese forces, along with at least 70 injured.
Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s former high commissioner to India, said: “India’s decision is clearly to divert attention away from the bashing they have recently received by China.”
Retired general Asif Yasin Malik, former defence secretary, added that the attack on Pakistan was done to “satisfy public opinion”.
Malik said: “The Indians are in no position to fight China militarily, they will try to retaliate elsewhere.”
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The call for withdrawal by India follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government had scrapped the political autonomy for India’s muslim-majority states, Jammu and Kashmir.
The move came last year, which led to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan denouncing New Delhi’s decision as well as the protracted curfew and telecoms shutdown that left millions of Kashmiris cut off for months.
Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic relations with India in response.
Late May saw a further chill in relations, when India expelled two Pakistani consular officials that it accused of buying Indian national security documents.
Last year, PM Modi stripped autonomy from Muslim areas Kashmir and Jammu
Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic relations with India in response
Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research, said to the Financial Times that the reduction in diplomatic staff “long overdue”.
He said: “Given that the two countries don’t have a trade relationship now, and that they have cut off cultural links and all political ties, there is no justification for Pakistan to have such a bloated mission in New Delhi.
“Downsizing was inevitable.
“This may not be the end of it.”