Sending out a strong message to Pakistan, India on Tuesday warned of serious consequences if authorities there went on to execute Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of being a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said India will ‘go out of its way’ to save Kulbhushan Yadav.
Swaraj said, “There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Kulbhushan Jadhav. The charges pressed against him are ridiculous.”
“I would caution the Pakistan government to consider the consequences for our bilateral relationship if they proceed on this matter,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha, assuring that the Indian government “will go out of the way to save him (Jadhav)”.
She said the government would appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and would petition the President of the country to save “the son of the nation”.
The Ministry added that the subsequent presence of Jadhav, who was kidnapped last year from Iran, has never been explained credibly by the Pakistani authorities.
“The proceedings that have led to the sentence against Jadhav are farcical in the absence of any credible evidence against him. Senior Pakistani figures have themselves cast doubt about the adequacy of the evidence,” an official release stated.
Former Pakistan minister of foreign affairs Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Tuesday evaded questions on the burning issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s sentencing.
“I have come for a certain purpose and I will not speak about it,” Kasuri said.
Kasuri said that he had come to speak on Pakistan – India relations despite the fact that conditions between the two countries are not good.
“I have come here despite the fact that conditions between the two countries are not good particularly Kashmir valley in view, my views are quite clear and I’m not going to be distracted,” he added.
Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province and accused of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent, who was fuelling the Baloch separatist movement and attempting to sabotage the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. India denies the charges.
India on Monday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and issued a demarche against Pakistani military court for awarding death sentence to Jadhav, who Islamabad claims was arrested during an anti-terror operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area in March, 2016.
“If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the Government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder,” a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said the government must push hard to ensure Jadhav’s safe return to India.
“Kulbhushan Jadhav has been sentenced to death by Kangroo Proceedings in Pakistan that no one even knows ever took place. GOI must get him back,” Tewari said on Twitter.