New Delhi, May 14 (IANS): India Wednesday termed as "regrettable and unfortunate" and as a "retrograde step" Pakistan's decision to expel two Indian correspondents stationed in Islamabad.
"It is regrettable and unfortunate that the two Indian correspondents in Pakistan have been asked to leave prematurely and suddenly only a few months after their arrival there," said external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
"Not allowing independent journalists to function is a retrograde step especially as free flow of information between India and Pakistan has long been recognized as an important confidence building measure."
Meena Menon of The Hindu newspaper and Snehesh Alex Philip of the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency were given letters late Tuesday telling them they must leave Pakistan by May 20.
The two Indian journalists arrived in Pakistan in August 2013. Their visas were valid until March 9 and were not extended.
Pakistan and India have an agreement under which each country is allowed two journalists in the other's capital - one from a newswire and one from a newspaper.
The move comes ahead of a new government taking over in India after the general election.