NEW DELHI, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- India Friday slammed Pakistan for expelling an officer posted in its High Commission in Islamabad, a day after New Delhi asked a Pakistani High Commission official to leave the country on charges of espionage.
"Government notes with regret the government of Pakistan's decision to declare Surjeet Singh, Assistant Personnel and Welfare Officer in the High Commission of India in Islamabad, persona non grata and expel him and his family members," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
"No justification has been provided by the government of Pakistan except for the completely baseless and unsubstantiated allegation that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms. The government condemns Pakistan's step," it added.
Islamabad's action in the wake of India Thursday expelling 35-year-old Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, after claiming to have caught him and two Indian nationals with some "sensitive defense documents and maps."
Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, Abdul Basit, has refuted India's charges and claimed that Akhtar was "detained and manhandled in violation of the Vienna Convention."
Akhtar and the two Indian nationals were nabbed by the Delhi Police for alleged spying. Cops had claimed trio were caught red-handed near Delhi Zoo while the two Indians were handing over sensitive defense documents to Akhtar, following a tip-off by Indian security agencies.
While the Pakistani official was let off after questioning due to his diplomatic immunity, the two Indian nationals -- Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir -- were arrested, a police official said.
The tit-for-tat expulsion of Indian and Pakistan officials came amid increasing tensions between the two countries in the aftermath of the terror attack on an Army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir last month, in which 19 soldiers died and more than 30 others sustained injuries.
India has blamed Pakistan for the attack, a claim denied by the latter. Both India and Pakistan stake claim to Kashmir and have fought at least three major wars over the disputed territory in the past 65 years.