The Indian government has submitted a formal diplomatic letter of protest to Pakistan in response to a number of instances when its diplomats were harassed in Islamabad. In the strongly-worded missive, New Delhi urged Islamabad to ensure the safety of its diplomats and warned that such incidents should not reoccur.

This is the latest development in a series of such incidents; the two countries exchanged accusations of “unruly” behaviour in both capitals in May during the Eid holiday period. 

India had approached Pakistan regarding the harassment, aggressive surveillance and intimidation of its diplomats in Islamabad in March this year as well. “The Pakistan side has been asked to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic Mission and its diplomatic and consular officials,” India’s junior External Affairs Minister V. Muraleedharan said.  

Since November, there have been a series of such accusations between the two neighbours, but the issues were sorted out in line with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the bilateral Code of Conduct signed by the two countries in 1992.

An alleged incident of harassment involving an official of the High Commission of Pakistan was also reported in January 2019. “The allegations were denied by the Pakistani officials. The victim also did not file any police complaint,” Muraleedharan had told Indian Parliament on 4 July. 

Meanwhile, India has approved the appointment of Pakistan’s new high commissioner Moin-ul-Haqu amid consultations for providing “full consular access” to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer jailed in Pakistan on alleged charges of espionage. In 2017, Jadhav, 49, was given the death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.

Recently, the International Court of Justice had ruled that India should be given consular access to Jadhav and stayed his sentence. 

The bilateral relations between the two countries took a nosedive in February of this year when at least 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a suicide terror attack in Kashmir. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility, but the Indian government had accused the Imran Khan Government of assisting such groups in Kashmir.

On 26 February, the Indian Air Force conducted a “non-military” air strike and destroyed alleged terror infrastructure in Balakot inside Pakistan. The following day, Pakistan targeted Indian military installations in Kashmir with around two dozen fighter jets; the dogfight resulted in the loss of one Indian fighter jet.

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