Earlier in the day, MEA’s joint secretary Deepak Mittal had summoned Pakistan’s Charge d’ Affaires Syed Haidar Shah and protested about the ill-treatment of the Indian staffers in Pakistan, and acts of espionage, dealings with terrorist organizations by their staffers.
India on Tuesday has expressed concern about the activities of officials in the Pakistan High Commission and has informed the Charge d’ Affaires that a decision has been taken to reduce the staff strength by 50 per cent in its New Delhi location within seven days. Earlier in the day, MEA’s joint secretary Deepak Mittal had summoned Pakistan’s Charge d’ Affaires Syed Haidar Shah and protested about the ill-treatment of the Indian staffers in Pakistan, and acts of espionage, dealings with terrorist organizations by their staffers.
After the Parliament attack in 2001, such a step of reduction of diplomats was taken. According to the MEA, the behaviour of the officials of Pakistan was not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and other bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials.”
Referring to the recent arrest of two Pakistan High Commission’s officials, “it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism,” the MEA said in its statement. In a detailed statement by the MEA it states, “The Indian officials who returned from Pakistan over the weekend shared their ordeal and the barbaric treatment they had at the hands of the agencies
What does it mean?
According to Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, “It is a reduction in staff and not suspension. Such a reduction is across the board. Both sides have to maintain parity.”
“Since the reduction is on both sides the impact will not be felt much as there is hardly any activity going on in any of the missions. These are different times, nothing good is happening. The hostilities have grown as Pakistan continues indulging in terror activities,” Trigunayat adds.
“In fact there has been no High Commissioner from India for more than a year. Last August, Pakistan had expelled the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, and since then there has been no High Commissioner on both sides,” he states.
The staff of Pakistan in New Delhi has been engaged in espionage and other acts that could harm India.
The decision to reduce the staff by 50 per cent will be applied to the Indian Mission in Islamabad too.
Which this decision of the government today, as per the norms, the staff in the Indian Mission in Pakistan will be reduced to 55 and this follows the return of two Indian staffers who were subjected to torture by the security agencies in Pakistan earlier this month.
The decision to cut down the staff in the missions is the latest in the series of steps taken by the two countries that have seen the bilateral relations going down since the Pulwama Attack. And also, the government’s decision to amend Article 370 of the Constitution and reorganise the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2019, the trade ties between the two countries have been snapped, visas issuance reduced to the basic minimum and the overflights rights were also cancelled.
In 2001, Indian staff was reduced to about 47 diplomats on both sides, which was subsequently reduced to just 20. However, in 2003, with the relationship improving on both sides the numbers were increased.