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Pakistan Asks Tehran for Details About Alleged Indian Spy

FILE – The Chabahar port in Iran is shown. Pakistani authorities accuse a former Indian Navy officer living in Chabahar of being an Indian spy.
FILE – The Chabahar port in Iran is shown. Pakistani authorities accuse a former Indian Navy officer living in Chabahar of being an Indian spy.

Pakistani authorities asked Iran to investigate a suspected Indian spy arrested last month in Baluchistan.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry sent a communique to the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad accusing Kulbhushan Jadhav of involvement in an Indian spy network and saying he was planning subversive activities against the recently launched multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He had allegedly been living in Chabahar, an Iranian port on the Gulf of Oman, west of Pakistan, before illegally entering Baluchistan.

Reuters reported that Pakistan's government aired video footage this week of Jadhav saying he set up an office in Chabahar and later worked for the Indian spy agency. It was unclear whether he made the comments freely.

India has confirmed that Jadhav is a former Indian navy officer, but denied he is a spy and said he had taken early retirement from the military.

Iranian authorities have not publicly commented on the allegations, but the embassy in Islamabad released a statement criticizing Pakistani media outlets for their reporting of the case.

"During the past few days, some sections of the Pakistani media have spread content regarding the detention of an Indian agent and the matter related to it, which could have negative implications on the fraternal and friendly atmosphere of Iran and Pakistan," a statement by the Iranian Embassy said.

Pakistan, Iran pacts

News of the spy came after a two-day visit last month to Islamabad by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who signed a number of pacts to further economic ties with Pakistan.

Pakistani media reported that officials discussed India's alleged spying activities with Rouhani. Iranian media said the matter was not discussed.

Although ties between Iran and Pakistan have been relatively distant with brief periods of economic cooperation, Iran's recent expansion of economic and trade ties with India has drawn attention in Islamabad.

Analysts say that India's recent investments in the Chabahar port project are seen as a countereffort by India to sabotage the China-Pakistan economic corridor project, by providing an alternate route that would bypass Pakistan.

Analyst Saeed Nazir of the Islamabad-based Institute of Policy Studies says that India has invested around $150 million in Chabahar and wants to create an economic route to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.

There has been little trade between India and landlocked Afghanistan, in part because Pakistan has been reluctant to allow goods to be transported between the two countries.