Posturing and verbal sparring – this seems to have become a depressing and recurrent feature of the accident-prone India-Pakistan relations. Barely days before India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif are expected to meet in Washington, Pakistan has claimed that it has arrested an Indian intelligence officer working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for allegedly subversive activities. India has promptly rubbished these allegations.
India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale was summoned by Pakistan to protest against the “subversive activities” of an alleged RAW officer. The arrested official has been identified as Kul Yadav Bhushan, according to Balochistan’s Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti. Mr Bugti alleged that the arrested official was a commander ranking officer in the Indian Navy and was working for the RAW, India’s external spy agency.
Expressing its displeasure and lodging a protest, a statement released by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said: “The Indian High Commissioner was summoned by the Foreign Secretary today and through a demarche conveyed our protest and deep concern on the illegal entry into Pakistan by a RAW officer and his involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi.”
Rebutting Pakistan’s allegation, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “The said individual has no link with Government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy. We have sought consular access to him. India has no interest in interfering in internal matters of any country and firmly believes that a stable and peaceful Pakistan is in the interest of all in the region.”
According to Mr Bugti’s claims, Mr Bhushan was in contact with Baloch separatists and terrorists fuelling sectarian violence in Balochistan. He did not disclose the exact location of Mr Bhushan’s arrest. While Pakistan has been accusing India of fuelling violence on the Pakistani soil especially in the Balochistan province, this is the first time that it has claimed the arrest of a RAW official.
This shadow boxing bodes ill for the future of India-Pakistan relations, specially at a time when the relations between the two countries are under stress in the aftermath of the January Pathankot terror attacks.
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