India says it has expelled two Pakistani officials in New Delhi for "espionage activities". Islamabad rejects allegation, saying its High Commission staffers in New Delhi were detained and tortured by Indian authorities.
Two officials at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were being expelled for "indulging in espionage activities", India's foreign ministry said late Sunday, with tensions already heightened between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Pakistan rejected the allegation, saying both diplomats were instead tortured by Indian authorities.
"The government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission," the ministry said in a statement.
The pair had to leave the country "within 24 hours" and Pakistan's Charge de Affaires was issued with a "strong protest" over the alleged activities of the pair, the ministry said.
Pakistan's foreign ministry in a statement condemned what it called the detention and torture of two diplomatic officials by Indian authorities.
"Two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were lifted by the Indian authorities on false and unsubstantiated charges. They were, however, released on intervention by the High Commission. We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges," the ministry said.
"Indian attempts to escalate the tensions will not succeed in diverting attention either from the ongoing internal and external issues faced by the BJP government or from the worsening situation and gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir," the statement said.
Trial of Indian 'spy' in Germany
The expulsions came weeks after an Indian national was set to stand trial in Germany, accused of spying on Sikh and Kashmiri communities for New Delhi's secret service.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars against each other since independence, including two over Kashmir.
Kashmir has become a bigger source of tension in the relations between the regional powers after New Delhi last year scrapped the restive Muslim-majority Himalayan region's semi-autonomous status and imposed a curfew to quell unrest.
India also passed controversial domicile laws in the region, that will allow non-locals to take up jobs and ultimately buy properties in the disputed Muslim-majority region. Kashmiris say India wants to effect a demographic change in the region by settling non-local Hindus there.
Rebel groups in Indian-administered Kashmir have battled for decades for the region's independence or its merger with Pakistan and enjoy broad popular support.
The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians, since 1989.
India has more than 500,000 troops stationed in Kashmir.