India condemns Pakistan's move to expel an Indian High Commission employee in Islamabad from the country, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said on Thursday. "We note with regret the Pakistani government's decision to declare Surjeet Singh persona non grata," he said. "No justification was provided, apart from completely baseless allegations that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms."

Swarup further said Pakistan's actions were an "obvious afterthought" following India's move to expel Mehmood Akhtar, a staffer of the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, on charges of espionage. "Pakistan's action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism," he said.

On Thursday, Akhtar had been ordered to leave India within 48 hours after he was declared persona non grata (an unacceptable or unwelcome person) for espionage activities. This was after he was questioned by the Delhi Police for allegedly possessing highly-classified defence documents. Three other suspected Pakistani spies were arrested for leaking the papers to the diplomat.

Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit, however, had denied India's accusations and accused the country of manhandling the Pakistani staffer. He had said the high commission "never engages in activity incompatible with its diplomatic status" and had asked the Indian government to "ensure that such harassment does not happen in future". Swarup had said Islamabad's denial had become "quite characteristic".