“I was a pilot flying an airplane and it just so happened that where I was flying made what I was doing spying.”

–Francis Gary Power, 1960.

As the capture of an alleged Indian spy in Balochistan dominates the news cycles in Pakistan it is easy to forget that Pakistan was involved in another high-profile spying incident in the past. The picture shows the wreckage of a US U-2 plane being inspected in Russia after it was shot down on soviet airspace over Sverdolsk. The plane –which took off from Peshawar – crashed and the pilot was apprehended. This sucked all three countries in a diplomatic standoff, with Pakistan being caught in the middle of the two Cold War powers.

Initially the US tried to cover up the incident but it had to own up to the military nature of the mission once soviet authorities presented the spying equipment on board. Ultimately Francis Gary Power – the pilot – was convicted for espionage and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. Yet he was released only 2 years later in exchange for a Russian spy captured by the US – an amicable solution for all parties. By contrast, Pakistan and India’s spying rows seem tame, although it will definitely prove much harder to solve.