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India expels Pakistani diplomat suspected of 'espionage'

A Pakistan High Commission official has been asked to leave India after he was detained carrying sensitive defense documents. The announcement comes as tensions between the neighboring countries are already running high.

Indien Neu Delhi Pakistanische Botschaft Soldaten (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Sharma)

The diplomat reportedly worked at Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi (pictured above)

Indian authorities announced on Thursday they were expelling a diplomat with Pakistan's High Commission in India, saying he was involved in spying.

"Delhi police crime branch has busted an espionage racket run by a kingpin working in the Pakistan high commission," said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police.

Police in New Delhi say the Pakistani official had been recruiting Indian nationals for two and a half years to spy for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in exchange for cash.

Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India's Ministry for External Affairs, said the foreign secretary summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner to inform him of the situation and make his case.

Three men were detained on Wednesday outside the gates to the Delhi Zoo, where the Pakistani diplomat met with two Indian associates whom he allegedly recruited to spy for him.

The official was caught exchanging sensitive documents including maps showing the deployment of India's paramilitary troops and army along the border with Pakistan. The official was released after he was found to have a diplomatic passport.

Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi rejected the allegations in a statement, saying the Commission "never engages in any activity that is incompatible with its diplomatic status."

The diplomat has been given 48 hours to leave the country.

Watch video 04:13

Kashmir tensions spill over to India, Pakistan film industry (05.10.2016)

Tensions have already been running high between the two nuclear-armed neighboring countries over a border conflict in Kashmir.

In September, a group of gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers at an army camp in Kashmir. India blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants, while Pakistan maintains the operation never happened. Islamabad accuses New Delhi of inventing the attack to distract from protest crackdowns in the India-controlled portion of Kashmir.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both nations claim the territory in full and have exchanged fire this week in cross-border shelling.

rs/blc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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