India asks Pakistan to reduce high commission strength by 50%

India has decided to reduce the staff strength of Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi by 50 per cent.

India said it would also reduce the staff strength of its diplomatic mission in Islamabad by the same amount.

The decision was conveyed to the Charge d’Affaires of Pakistan, who was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs, said a statement issued by the Indian External Affairs Ministry on Tuesday.

The Indian government blamed Pakistan for further downgrading in the diplomatic ties. There has been no reaction yet from Islamabad but officials said a meeting is underway at the Foreign Office to discuss the latest development.

Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties in August last year when it pulled out its High Commissioner and ordered the expulsion of the Indian envoy after New Delhi revoked the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

On May 31, India declared two staffers of the Pakistani mission persona non grata after accusing them of espionage. Both were expelled later. However, Pakistan strongly dismissed Indian claims and instead accused New Delhi for violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Recently, India withdrew two of its staff members, who were briefly detained by Islamabad police in a “hit-and-run” accident. Both officials returned to New Delhi on Monday.