Expulsion of Pakistani diplomats diversionary tactic by India: Qureshi

Pakistan has said that with the expulsion of its diplomats India is trying to distract the attention of its people after Indian forces got a “battering” at the hands of Chinese troops in a clash in Ladakh.

“Things have deteriorated, things are very delicate,” Qureshi told Reuters in an interview at his ministry in Islamabad late on Thursday.

Qureshi denounced India’s announcement on Tuesday that it would expel half the staff in Pakistan’s embassy in New Delhi over spying, saying India was trying to divert attention at home.

Pakistan is concerned about the tension after the June 15 clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, in particular about the possibility Pakistan could get dragged in, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Qureshi said he was concerned that India could try to get Pakistan involved in the regional tensions with a “false flag operation” — an incident staged to provide a pretext for action.

He said he feared any Indian “misadventure” in Pakistan’s territory would prompt Pakistan to respond with force.

“The accusations were baseless,” he said.

“They have no answers for the battering they got in Ladakh, so to quell the domestic dissent they want to re-focus,” he said.

India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Qureshi said Pakistan backed the position of its ally China over Ladakh and he had recently had a call with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, who had expressed appreciation for that position.