And why are they exchanging fire with the US in tit-for-tat attacks around the region?
The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has apprehended an employee of the Indian Embassy in Moscow, suspected of espionage on behalf of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
According to reports from Indian media outlets, Satendra Siwal – a resident of Shahmahiuddinpur village in Hapur – had been serving as a ‘security assistant’ at the Moscow Embassy since 2021. He was arrested after an interrogation by the ATS, during which he reportedly confessed to engaging in espionage for Pakistani intelligence.
The ATS said in a statement on Sunday that it had uncovered Siwal’s communications with ISI agents through electronic and physical surveillance. He allegedly disclosed sensitive information concerning strategic operations of the Defense Ministry, external affairs minister, and Indian military, the statement noted.
”He is implicated in the network of ISI handlers, providing crucial confidential information related to the diplomatic and military activities of India, in exchange for monetary incentives,” the statement added.
The ATS has accused the ISI of attempting to entice personnel from Indian missions with monetary incentives to divulge strategic intelligence, posing a significant threat to India's security.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has said it is aware of Siwal's arrest and is collaborating with investigators to address the matter, as reported by news agency ANI, citing official sources.
New Delhi and Islamabad have been locked in a lengthy border dispute over Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region. Kashmir was the site of several major wars, and sporadic military clashes continue despite a ceasefire along the Line of Control and International Border, reached in February 2021.
Ties between the two nations further nosedived in 2019, after the Indian parliament abolished Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which had given the state of Jammu and Kashmir autonomous status. Pakistan responded by drastically scaling down its diplomatic and economic relations with India.