New Delhi: India on Thursday said it was in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels on the issue of consular access to imprisoned former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, with New Delhi saying it expected that “full and quick consular access” to Jadhav is granted to India in line with the recent verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague in the Netherlands. This indicates that New Delhi wants to play strictly by the book and does not want any deviation by Pakistan from the norms of consular access as laid down in the Vienna Convention.
Meanwhile, Pakistan said that it was working to grant consular access to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. “We said (earlier) that consular access will be given and (now) work has been started on that,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told reporters during his weekly media briefing in Islamabad.
Faisal also welcomed US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation for resolving the Kashmir issue. He expressed “surprise” over Indian reaction to the offer. “Our approach is dialogue based; it is UN-resolutions based and it will remain as such,” he said.
At a weekly briefing, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We are in touch with Pakistan (on the issue of consular access to Jadhav). Talks are on through diplomatic channels.”
After being slammed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 17 for violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, a chastened Pakistan had announced its decision to grant consular access to Jadhav, adding that the imprisoned former Indian naval officer has “been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention”.
Earlier, on various ocassions, New Delhi has also made it clear that it expects Islamabad to immediately grant India consular access to Jadhav. Pakistan had repeatedly refused India consular access since 2016 to Jadhav and India had pointed this out to the ICJ when it took the case to Court in May 2017.
Islamabad had last week said, “Pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, (former) Commander Kulbushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav, in line with Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out.”
It may be recalled that a Pakistani military court had on April 10, 2017, sentenced Jadhav to death on charges of “espionage and sabotage”. Islamabad had claimed that the former naval officer was “apprehended by Pakistan law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016 after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan” and that he had been engaging in “espionage, terrorist and sabotage activities aimed at destabilising and waging war against Pakistan”.
But New Delhi had consistently rubbished these claims as false and baseless. India had argued that Mr. Jadhav was “kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy, and was then shown to have been arrested in Balochistan” on 3 March 2016”.