An in-depth analysis and look into the ongoing case, starting from who Mr. Jadhav is, the events leading up to his arrest in Pakistan and where India-Pakistan relations are headed from here and many other question.

Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Indian navy officer has been awarded the death sentence by a military court in Pakistan. Jadhav has been accused by Pakistan of being a ‘RAW’ agent, and has supposedly confessed before the court of being tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities aiming to destabilize and wage a war against Pakistan. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was born in Sangli, Maharashtra, on 16 April 1970 to Sudhir and Avanti Jadhav. His father is a retired Mumbai Police officer. Jadhav is married and has two children. His family resides in Powai, Mumbai.

Arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav and reaction of The Indian Government

According to the Pakistani government, on 3 March 2016, Jadhav was arrested inside Balochistan in Mashkel near the border region of Chaman, having made illegal entry into Pakistan via Iran. Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said that Jadhav was working for RAW and was in contact with Baloch separatists and terrorists fuelling sectarian violence in the province and the country. Pakistani authorities stated that Jadhav, during his interrogation, gave details about his funding, and plans to destabilise the country. They added that Jadhav also disclosed the presence of other Indian intelligence operatives in the southern metropolis. During the joint conference held by the army and the government, Jadhav’s video confession was made public.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs stated that Jadhav was an Indian Navy officer who retired prematurely, but he has no link with the government since his retirement. According to Indian officials, Jadhav owns a cargo business in Iran and had been working out of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports. “It appears that he strayed into Pakistani waters. But there is also a possibility that he was lured into Pakistan sometime back and fake documents were created on him by the ISI.

Here is a detailed timeline of the important developments in the matter of Jadhav so far:

15 May 2017: The ICJ to hear the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav as India and Pakistan presents their argument in the trial.

9 May 2017: The ICJ puts a stay on the death sentence given by Pakistan to Kulbhushan Jadhav after an appeal from India, which accused Pakistan of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention.”

8 May 2017: India moved a petition in the United Nations seeking justice for Jadhav after being denied 16 consular accesses, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by Pakistan.

26 April 2017: Pakistan denied India’s 16th request for consular access to Jadhav.

10 April 2017: Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a press release informed that Jadhav had been awarded the death sentence by a military court in Pakistan.

6 January 2017: Pakistan announced that it has submitted a dossier to the new United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres over Indian interference in Islamabad, which was aimed at “destabilising” the nation.

7 December 2016: Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz confirms that conclusive evidence against Kulbhushan has not been found. Pakistan Foreign Ministry released a statement the same day stating that the statement attributed to the Adviser is incorrect.

25 March 2016: Indian authorities are notified about Jadhav’s arrest in a press release.

3 March 2016: Kulbhushan Jadhav, retired navy officer accused to be an Indian Intelligence agency RAW’s operative was arrested in Balochistan.

What is the International Court of Justice (ICJ) & Why is India appealing to them?

Also known as the World Court or The Hague, this court is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations. Situated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the court settles legal disputes submitted to it by different states or the UN General Assembly. India appealed to the ICJ on May 8, accusing Pakistan of “egregious” violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav, despite repeated requests. India, in its appeal, contended that it was not informed of Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights. There is an “immediate threat” that Mr Jadhav will be executed even before the International Court reaches a decision, India said. “The situation is grave, it is urgent, and hence we approached this court at such short notice,” Mr Salve told the court. India has said Pakistan has denied consular access to Mr Jadhav — who was abducted from Iran while running a business there — 16 times. His trial in Pakistan, Mr Salve said, was “farcical” and without a shred of evidence. “The basic rights of Jadhav were thrown to the winds,” Mr Salve said, adding that he was given a lawyer only as the trial was about to end. Arguing that Mr Jadhav was arrested from the restive Baluchistan province, where he was sent to carry out subversive activities, Pakistan accused India of using the world court as a “political theatre”.

The Peace Palace which houses the International Court of Justice. | Source: Reuters

What would happen if India admits that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a RAW agent?

The use of word ‘admit’ will automatically mean that India has been spying on Pakistani territory which is being denied by India since long. Pakistan has been alleging that India is actively involved in promoting separatism in Balochistan . India have been accusing Pakistan of promoting separatism in Kashmir, Northeast and terrorism from their soil .

The timing of his arrest should be considered when looking at the implications of admitting him as an Indian spy. It happened at a time when a ‘JIT’ (Joint Investigation Team) probing Pathankot Airbase attack is visiting India. Naturally, Pakistan is in a defensive mode and have to save their image globally by either proving that those terrorists are not from Pakistan or by taking action against the those who are guilty . Moreover, they have been under tremendous pressure from the US to act against the perpetrators of Pathankot airbase attack .

So, if India admit that the arrested Indian citizen is their agent (which will automatically prove that India is involved in subversive activities in Pakistan), India’s ability to pressure Pakistan to act against terrorism will reduce. Moreover, Pakistan will create an impression that India is creating unrest in Pakistan and hence India is the one country who promote terrorism in Pakistani territory.

The ICJ Jadhav case Hearing

On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. On May 9, the highest court in the UN gave Jadhav a lease of life. India, in its appeal to the ICJ, had asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy. India denies that he has any connection with the government. Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday deferred its ruling on India’s petition against the death sentence awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Naval officer, by a Pakistani military court. After hearing arguments from lawyers of India and Pakistan, ICJ President Ronny Abraham said the 12-judge tribunal would deliver its order in a public setting on a date that would be communicated to the two parties. After Monday’s hearing, one really wonders if the advice of the legal mandarins in the Ministry of External Affairs is being heeded or if India is purely moving this case as a result of a political decision.

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