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  India   Govt says no link to retired Navy officer held in Pak

Govt says no link to retired Navy officer held in Pak

Published : Mar 26, 2016, 3:05 am IST
Updated : Mar 26, 2016, 3:05 am IST

Pakistan on Friday summoned Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge its protest over “subversive activities” by an alleged RAW officer a day after the Pakistani security forces claimed to h

Pakistan on Friday summoned Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge its protest over “subversive activities” by an alleged RAW officer a day after the Pakistani security forces claimed to have arrested him.

In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry said the person arrested had no link with the government since his premature retirement from the Indian Navy. The MEA further said: “India has no interest in interfering in the internal matters of any country and firmly believes a stable and peaceful Pakistan is in the interest of the region.”

Kul Bhushan Yadav, who was described by the Pakistanis as a “commander-rank officer” of the Indian Navy who was working for RAW, was reportedly arrested on Thursday in the Chaman area of Balochistan. He has been shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, Pakistani officials said.

“Pakistan has lodged strong protest with India over the involvement of its spy agency RAW in subversive activities in the country,” said an official in Islamabad. “In this regard, Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale was summoned to the Foreign Office and deep concerns conveyed to him over RAW’s interference in Balochistan and Karachi,” the official added.

This episode is likely to cause a further strain in India-Pakistan relations. The January terrorist strike on the Pathankot IAF base had given New Delhi an opportunity to raise concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, but the Balochistan arrest will be used by Islamabad to accuse RAW of involvement in “various acts of terror and other subversive activities” in that province.

MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup said the matter was raised on Friday by Pakistan’s foreign secretary with the Indian high commissioner. “The said individual has no link with the government since his premature retirement from the Indian Navy. We have sought consular access to him.”

Some reports in Islamabad claimed that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif may raise the issue with Indian PM Narendra Modi when they meet in Washington next week on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit being hosted by US President Barack Obama.

The issue may even figure in the foreign secretary-level talks that are expected to be resumed after the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team visits India to gather evidence on the Pathankot terror siege after New Delhi sought action against perpetrators of the terror strike hiding in Pakistan.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi