India said it's expelling a Pakistani high commission staff member in New Delhi after police arrested him for espionage, even as relations between the two nuclear armed neighbors touched a nadir in recent weeks.
"FS (foreign secretary) summons Pak High Commissioner to convey that Pak High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities," India's foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.
The New Delhi police detained the officer, identified as Mehmood Akhtar, after they found him in possession of defence documents.
"He was a havildar in Baloch regiment of Pak army, was later hired by ISI and was working in visa department in HC," the Delhi Police said, Asian Age reported. The officer was later released as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
The police also arrested two people on charges of espionage, after they established the natives of the western state of Rajasthan helped the Pak officer. "The spies are residents of Rajasthan were working for Pakistan's ISI. The spies were in touch with the staff here at Pakistan High Commission and were providing sensitive information," police said.
India-Pakistan conflict worsened in recent weeks, following the attack on Indian barracks in the border town of Uri in September that killed 18 Indian soldiers.
India accused Pakistan of fomenting trouble in Kashmir and helping terror outfits launch attacks on the Indian territory while Pakistan raised the issue at the United Nations. Indian forces launched a "surgical strikes" across the de facto border in Kashmir on Sept 29, killing dozens of militants in terror launch pads.