ISLAMABAD -  The diplomatic tussle between Pakistan and India seems to be worsening with each passing day amid skirmishes along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary.

Officials said that Pakistan was set to skip the largest global anti-tobacco conference to be held in India next week. The seventh Conference of Parties to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be attended by delegates from 180 countries. Pakistan’s absence will be significant in the wake of heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

An official at the foreign ministry said that a decision not to attend the conference had been conveyed to India . “Under the current circumstances, we had no choice,” he said citing the high tensions with the neighbouring country.

In India , organisers said that Pakistan expressed regret at pulling out of the meeting after invitations were sent to all the member nations and parties. However, the organisers said that “they may accept even a late entry if Pakistan agrees to participate”.

Co-organised by the WHO, the governing body COP brings together FCTC 180 parties, which include almost every country in the world as well as regional economic integration organisations like the European Union.

Earlier, Pakistan said that eight Indian diplomats and staff were involved in subversive activities in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignment. India had also accused six Pakistan diplomats of their alleged involvement in spying.

Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that a number of Indian diplomats and staff belonging to Indian intelligence agencies – Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau - had been found involved in coordinating terrorist and subversive activities in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignments.

The announcement came days after Pakistan expelled an Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh for using a fake identity as Abdul Hafeez pretending to be a telecom company Warid’s employee.

“We are disappointed that India has not only been found involved in promoting terrorist activities and terror financing as was disclosed by Kulbhushan Yadav, and further confirmed by the statements at the highest political level on August 15 and earlier during a visit to Dhaka, but India has also been using its diplomatic mission for its nefarious designs,” Zakaria said.

Regarding the anti-tobacco conference, Guangyuan Liu, of the FCTC said: “As of now the information we have is that they will not be able to attend. Of course, if a party like Pakistan says they cannot participate, we don't go further and ask why.

This is totally the decision of the party concerned whether they can participate or not. Yes, we had invited them.” This is the first time that a COP meeting is being held in India .

Analyst Dr Pervez Iqbal Cheema said that India had not left any option to skip such meetings as it was violating human rights in Kashmir and continuing LoC violations. “Pakistan has always advocated for dialogue but India never responded positively. We cannot leave the Kashmiris at their mercy,” he said.

Cheema said that India was responsible for the diplomatic and the military tussle between the two neighbours. “If they agree to hold talks on Kashmir, there will be no tension,” he added.