Pakistan says it captures Indian spy, summons envoy to protest

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan summoned the Indian ambassador on Friday to protest against the illegal entry of an Indian spy who Pakistan said was captured in the violence-plagued province of Baluchistan the previous day.

The accusation could raise tension between the nuclear-armed rivals months after India blamed Pakistan-based militants for an attack on an Indian air base in which seven military personnel were killed.

“(Pakistan) conveyed our protest and deep concern on the illegal entry into Pakistan by a RAW officer and his involvement in subversive activities in Baluchistan and Karachi,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the message conveyed to India’s ambassador.

RAW is India’s Research and Analysis Wing, its main external intelligence agency.

Pakistan believes India is supporting a separatist insurgency in resource-rich Baluchistan. It also accuses India of fuelling strife in the city of Karachi.

India denies any such meddling.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian security forces in its part of the divided Kashmir region, of helping militants launch attacks elsewhere in India and backing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan say it only offers diplomatic support to the Muslim people of Kashmir living under what Pakistan says is heavy-handed Indian rule. It denies backing militant attacks in India.

A Pakistani military official in Baluchistan told Reuters the suspected RAW spy was an Indian navy officer. Another Pakistani official gave the same information.

Both declined to be identified as they were not authorized to give details of the incident to the media.

One of the officials said the suspected spy had been moved to Islamabad for interrogation.

The neighbors have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Baluchistan’s provincial interior minister, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, told reporters the arrest “proved Indian involvement” in his province.

Last year, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said RAW was bent on annihilating Pakistan.

“RAW has been formed to undo Pakistan and to wipe Pakistan off the map of the world,” Asif said in a television interview.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made improving ties with India a priority when he won a 2013 election. But his push is seen as causing friction with the army which sees relations with India as its domain.

Last December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise stopover in Pakistan to meet Sharif, the first visit by an Indian premier in over a decade.

The visit raised hopes that stop-and-start negotiations might finally make progress after decades of hostility.

Reporting and writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Robert Birsel