A former Indian Navy officer has been arrested in Pakistan for alleged involvement in “subversive” activities in Balochistan, but India quickly distanced itself from him by stating that he had no link with the government since his “premature retirement” from the Navy.
The response by India’s Ministry of External Affairs came after Pakistan Foreign Secretary summoned India’s High Commissioner to Islamabad Gautam Bambawale to lodge his country’s protest over “subversive activities” of an alleged Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer.
“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,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.
Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti on Friday identified the “official” as Kulbhushan Yadav, who he said was a commander-ranking officer in the Indian Navy and was working for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He said the man was contact with Baloch separatists and terrorists fuelling sectarian violence in Balochistan. Agency reports quoted unnamed sources to claim that the man was arrested from Chaman area of Balochistan, which is close to the Afghanistan border.
In New Delhi, 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.”
Pakistan had accused India of stoking violence in Balochistan and Karachi in the past. But it has never been able to furnish any evidence to support his claims.
In July 2009, a joint statement was signed between India’s then PM Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s Yousaf Raza Gilani after their talks on the sidelines of Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt. Singh was criticized by the Opposition as the statement had included that during their talks Gilani “mentioned” that “Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas”.
In that statement, Singh said that “India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues”.