India and Pakistan expel envoys as tension mounts

NEW DELHI (Reuter) - India and Pakistan ordered diplomats expelled from each other's soil yesterday as tension between the old adversaries over nuclear weapons and spying mounted.

Pakistan accused the Indian consul in Karachi of spying and ordered him to leave the country within a week. Hours later New Delhi retaliated, demanding that the first secretary of Pakistan's High Commission leave India. Each capital accused the foreign envoys of involvement in activities incompatible with their diplomatic status - spying.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, have often swapped spy charges. In July Pakistan and India each expelled two officials in a tit-for-tat espionage row. Then Pakistan said it was considering closing down the Indian consulate in Karachi because India would not let Pakistan reopen a consulate in Bombay. More ominously, Islamabad and New Delhi have been sparring over the assertion of the former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan has an atomic bomb.