Announcing No Intervention, US Urges India, Pakistan to Hold Bilateral Talks

Will this be repeated again?

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Washington, DC – The United States on Thursday (October 27) refused to be dragged into the ongoing diplomatic “tit for tat” as ties between New Delhi and Islamabad dipped further when India ordered a Pakistan High Commission staffer to leave the country declaring him, “persona non-grata” for espionage. Pakistan replied by ordering an Indian diplomat to leave the country with his family.

“We’ve seen the reports of these decisions. These are sovereign decisions that nation-states make, and these are issues that we’re going to leave to India and Pakistan to work out,” said John Kirby, the US State Department spokesperson.

Replying to a question from IAT, Kirby urged both India and Pakistan to hold bilateral talks, “These are issues that we believe India and Pakistan need to discuss, need to talk about, need to work out between themselves.”

On the prospects of escalations of tension, Kirby said, “Obviously, we don’t want to see that happen, but let’s not get ahead of events.”

Earlier reports from the Indian capital mentioned that Delhi Police had caught a Pakistani diplomat with defense documents, including deployment details of the Border Security Force (BSF) along the border.

“The Pakistan High Commission has been informed that Mehmood Akhtar and his family must return to Pakistan by October 29. The Foreign Secretary (S Jaishankar) also strongly conveyed to the Pakistan High Commissioner (Abdul Basit) that the Pak High Commission must ensure that none of its members indulge in activities inimical to India, or behave in a manner that is incompatible with their diplomatic status,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

In a retaliatory move, Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced an Indian diplomat, Surjeet Singh, as “persona non-grata” adding that Singh was given 48 hours to leave the country with family.

The statement said Singh was accused of activities “that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms” but no more details were provided.

Relations between the two nuclear-powered archival nations have been on edge since a militant raid on an Indian army camp in Kashmir earlier in September, that left eight soldiers dead.

India immediately pointed an accusing finger at Islamabad for abetting the attack but Pakistan rejected the accusations. Then came claims from India of a “surgical strike” on the Pakistani side of the border but again Pakistan’s military swiftly refuted the claim as fabricated and concocted.

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