The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday requested Pakistan for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav for the 15th time, adding that the government doesn’t know anything about the former Indian Navi officer’s location or condition in Pakistan. “It is a matter of concern for India,” said MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay. The country also demanded that Pakistan forward its legal proceedings against Jadhav. Jadhav was charged with ‘espionage’ and ‘sabotage’, and awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court last month.
“Pakistan claims there have been legal proceedings against Kulbhushan Jadhav, if there have been, we would like to see them,” Baglay is quoted as saying by news agency ANI. “Requested for consular access to Pakistan 14 times, have asked again. We are concerned about his health and whereabouts.”
This is the second time India has approached its neighbouring country seeking proof of legal proceedings against Jadhav. Soon after his sentencing, the MEA had demanded certified copies of the chargesheet against him, and sought consular access. Pakistan, which has not responded to India’s requests yet, claims it has ‘credible’ and ‘specific’ evidence against the 46-year-old.
Sartaj Aziz, national security advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, defended the military sentencing saying due process of law was followed. He also blamed the Indian media of exaggerating the situation. India claims Jadhav was kidnapped by Pakistani forces. Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd) V K Singh even called the charges against Jadhav ‘fictitious’.
As tensions rose between the two countries, India last month cancelled bilateral talks which were scheduled between the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard and Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency.