Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Indian envoy to meet Pakistan's foreign secretary
NEW DELHI: Indian high commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale will be meeting Pakistan foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in connection with the case of retired Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been given death sentence by an army court there.
According to sources, Bambawale is expected to raise the issue of consular access to Jadhav as Pakistan has rejected 13 of India's requests for the same in the last one year.
Apart from diplomatic options, India will also explore legal remedies permitted under Pakistan legal system including Jadhav's family appealing against the verdict.
"India has no information on retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav's location in Pakistan or his condition," the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.
Asserting that the whole country's sentiment is with Jadhav, external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the government will not spare any effort in securing justice for the "kidnapped innocent" Indian national but refused to divulge details.
The 46-year-old Jadhav has been awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court on charges of alleged "espionage and sabotage" activities.
Baglay criticised the Pakistan government for not sharing Jadhav's location and details of his condition, adding that the international norm is consular access, and India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.
He also referred to India's demarche to Pakistan where it was clearly conveyed that given the circumstances of the case which includes kidnapping of Jadhav, absence of any credible evidence to substantiates the concocted charges against him, farcical nature of the proceedings against him and denial of consular access to him, the people and the government of India will consider this as a "premeditated murder".
Baglay said Jadhav is an innocent Indian who is a retired officer of the Indian Navy and these two things were conveyed to Pakistan in March, 2016 when issue of his "illegal custody there came to our attention".
On reports of Jadhav carrying a fake identity or original Indian passport, Baglay said, "We cannot ascertain anything since we did not have any consular access. What kind of spy keeps an original passport, especially if he is going on so called spying mission.
"These facts are illogical and create doubts over allegation of his being a spy... We need to know how he came to be in Pakistan in the first place."
India has been maintaining that Jadhav, who had legal business interest in Iran, was kidnapped by Pakistan authorities.
The trial of Jadhav was "opaque and farcical", no due process was followed and all legal norms and international relations were defied, Baglay said.