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India’s ex-Envoy to Pakistan Calls for Tit-for-Tat Response as Diplomats Trade Charges

Over the last few months, several Indian High Commission staffers have been severely harassed and intimidated, a source said, adding that in one case an official's home was broken into and a laptop stolen.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:March 12, 2018, 12:47 PM IST
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India’s ex-Envoy to Pakistan Calls for Tit-for-Tat Response as Diplomats Trade Charges
Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi (File photo: PTI)
New Delhi: Amid the Pakistan High Commission lodging complaints of harassment with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, those who have served in the Islamic republic are saying that it was about time that Pakistan was given the same treatment that India deals with.

Former deputy national security advisor Satish Chandra, who had served in Pakistan twice, said that the harassment and intimidation faced by the Indian mission in Pakistan has always been considerable and certainly very much more than that faced by the Pakistan mission in India. While serving in Pakistan our diplomats also have much less access than what their diplomats enjoy in India.

“We don’t respond appropriately. The only way to rectify the situation is to engage in a tit for tat response. Unfortunately, we are too prudish and not prepared to take the required harsh measures against Pakistani diplomats in India. Strict reciprocity alone will cause Pakistan to put an end to its intimidation of Indian diplomats in Pakistan," he said.

"Similarly, since access of our diplomats in Pakistan is restricted we should limit the access of their diplomats in India. Regrettably we do not do this and our officials freely attend events organized by the Pakistan High Commission here. What is the need for that?” Chandra added.

On returning to India following his assignment as High Commissioner in Pakistan, he never attended any events organized by the Pakistan authorities but many other officials did.

Another expert pointed out that during the early 1960s, there would be times when the Indian officials would be abducted and be gone for 10-24 hours. “It’s good that we are now talking about it in the open. But such harassment and unfair treatment used to be there even during earlier times. Just that, we never responded in the same way. It’s about time we do that,” the expert said, on condition of anonymity.

The Pakistan High Commission here has lodged complaints of harassment with the External Affairs Ministry, which has assured them of an investigation, official sources said on Sunday and alleged that several Indian mission staffers in Islamabad have been severely "harassed and intimidated".

"Harassment is the new normal for Indian High Commission personnel in Islamabad. The High Commissioner's car was recently stopped by Pakistani agencies in the middle of a busy road to prevent him from attending an event," a source was quoted as saying in a media report. In more trouble, over the last few months, several Indian High Commission staffers have been severely harassed and intimidated, the source said, adding that in one case an official's home was broken into and a laptop stolen.

However, Indian diplomats chose to tackle this matter with quiet and persistent diplomacy rather than by airing issues in the media, the source said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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