India-Pakistan relationship takes a nosedive after Kulbhushan’s death sentence
Pakistan’s military announced on Monday that former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested in 2016, has been sentenced to death for espionage and sabotage. Pakistan, which announced Kulbhushan Jadhav’s arrest from the restive Balochistan province on March 25, 2016, accused him of being an officer of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). Jadhav was detained on March 21 and later shifted to Islamabad for questioning. Pakistan’s foreign secretary summoned Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale and issued a demarche to protest Jadhav’s “involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi”. Pakistan’s army also released a video shortly after his arrest in which he confessed to having spent years sowing unrest in Pakistan. It was not clear if Jadhav was speaking under duress. India’s external affairs ministry acknowledged Jadhav was an Indian national and a former navy personnel. But it refused the charges of his involvement in spying. A day after Pakistan’s charge, India sought consular access to Jadhav. Subsequently, New Delhi issued 13 note verbale to Pakistan seeking consular access, which were denied. Pakistan later said Jadhav had an Iranian residency permit and that he purportedly had a passport in the name of Hussain Mubarak Patel. The place of birth given in this passport is Sangli, Maharashtra. It was later revealed that Jadhav is the son of Sudhir Jadhav, a retired assistant commissioner of police in Mumbai. Jadhav’s uncle, Subhash Jadhav, was in charge of the Bandra police station in 2002 when a hit-and-run case was registered against Bollywood actor Salman Khan. All of them denied that Jadhav was involved in spying. On April 10, 2017, the Pakistan’s army said that Jadhav was convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to death. “The spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act and awarded the death sentence. Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” the Pakistani military’s publicity wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.