New Delhi: One could say it began with the Mumbai blasts, but Pakistan's decision to expel an Indian diplomat, Deepak Kaul, for what they claimed was "spying" has marked an escalation in the diplomatic chill with India.
"He was induging in activities that are incompatible with the diplomatic status. We have handed over to the India High Commission and they were asked to withdraw him by the beginning of the next week," says Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam.
India retaliated in short order ordering the expulsion of the political counsellor at the High Commission in Delhi, Rafiq Ahmed.
But at the MEA briefing late on Saturday evening, officials admitted they were puzzled why Pakistan did this.
"The actions of the government of Pakistan were in blatant violation of the Vienna convention as well as the code of conduct for the treatment of diplomatic and consular personnel in India and Pakistan. Such action could not but undermine the bilateral realtions between the two countries," says spokesperson of the MEA, Navtej Sarna.
Experts speculate that the expulsion could be a signal to India that Pakistan is not about to give in to Indian pressure on terrorism or it could even be a signal to reassure hardliners in Pakistan that there will be no compromise with India.
Either way, India and Pakistan are unlikely to be seen talking to each other any time soon.
(With Vishal Thapar)