The Pakistani foreign office has released the names of eight Indian diplomatic staffers who were allegedly involved in "terrorist and subversive activities" using their diplomatic cover. Authorities said all the eight were either working with Indian spy agencies the Intelligence Bureau (IB) or the Research and Analysis Wing (Raw).

The Indians were identified as Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri, Anurag Singh, Amerdeep Singh Bhatti, Dharmendra Sodhi, Vijay Kumar Verma, Madhavan Nanda Kumar, Balbir Singh and Jayabalan Senthil who were holding various posts.

Foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told a routine press conference on Thursday (3 November): "As you are aware, a number of Indian diplomats and staff belonging to Indian intelligence agencies Raw and IB have been found involved in coordinating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignments."

The names of the Indian diplomatic staffers first surfaced in the public domain after local Pakistani media revealed their identities. Later, Pakistan's foreign ministry disclosed the names alleging suspicious activities.

Speculation is also rife in Indian media that all of them would be withdrawn immediately from Pakistan while reports from Islamabad suggest they would be expelled.

"We are disappointed that India has not only been found involved in promoting terrorist activities and terror financing as was disclosed by Kulbhushan Yadhav, and further confirmed by the statements at the highest political level on 15 August and earlier during a visit to Dhaka... India has also been using its diplomatic mission for its nefarious designs," added the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson.

The rival neighbours are locked in a diplomatic tussle in the last few weeks after a senior Pakistani staffer was caught for allegedly handling sensitive defence details in New Delhi. Mehmood Akhtar, 35, was quickly expelled by Indian officials for alleged espionage and the Pakistani side responded in kind with the same vigour.

In retaliation, Islamabad accused Surjeet Singh, a staffer at the Indian High Commission, of spying on Pakistani soil and forced him to leave the country.