The identity of eight officials of the Indian High Commission, who were described as “undercover operatives”, was made public in the Pakistani media along with their photographs on Thursday — as bilateral ties appeared headed further downward.
According to a report in Dawn, the “alleged Indian intelligence personnel whose cover was blown in the media leak”, are Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri , commercial counsellor in the Indian High Commission; Balbir Singh, First Secretary, Press and Culture; Anurag Singh First Secretary, Commercial; Amardeep Singh Bhatti, Visa Attache; Dharmendra; Vijay Kumar Verma and Madhavan Nanda Kumar (Visa Assistants); and Jayabalan Senthil, Assistant, Personnel Welfare Office.
Dawn said the media leak claimed that the officials were working either for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) or the Indian Intelligence Bureau.
No Foreign Office official was available to confirm the media leak – which began with the electronic media – or give its details, the report said.
India said that the details of the eight Indian officers being published in the Pakistani media compromises their security, said sources in New Delhi.
According to Dawn, the “revealed Indian agents”, according to the information leaked to the media, were, found to be involved in “subversive activities”, including attempts to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and create fear and chaos in the country.
They are alleged to be building a network of informants within Pakistan and fabricating evidence for tarnishing the country’s image abroad, it added.
It is expected that these agents would be declared persona non-grata by Pakistani authorities in the coming days or India would withdraw them, Dawn reported.
The leak – that has taken the confrontation between the two countries to a new peak — came after Pakistan was forced to pull out six of its officers and staff posted at the high commission in New Delhi because of Indian claims that four diplomats were working for Pakistani intelligence services.
The withdrawn officers and staffers reached Lahore on Wednesday.
Last week, Pakistan had declared Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. Singh’s expulsion followed that of a Pakistani High Commission official in New Delhi, Mehboob Akhtar, on charges of working for the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.
In March, Pakistan said it had arrested a “serving Indian naval intelligence officer” Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan for allegedly working for RAW.
Relations between the two rivals have been strained since the past few months, following the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base, which India has blamed on terrorists from Pakistan, and the long unrest in Kashmir Valley, which India has accused Pakistan of fomenting.
The September 18 terror attack on an army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, that left 19 soldiers dead has flared tensions, an attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
India has said it carried out “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads in Pakistan as retribution.