Many options to save Jadhav

Diplomats suggest that India not rush into negotiations but show tact

Published - April 12, 2017 09:53 pm IST - NEW DELHI

New Delhi: File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of 'espionage'. PTI Photo (PTI4_11_2017_000103B)

New Delhi: File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of 'espionage'. PTI Photo (PTI4_11_2017_000103B)

India should not rush into negotiations with Pakistan to free the former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been awarded the death sentence by Pakistan, veteran diplomats said on Wednesday. They said India had several bilateral and multilateral options to free Mr. Jadhav, who was accused of sabotage and tried in a military court.

“One option before India is to ask [U.S.] President Trump to prevail upon the Pakistan military to release Mr. Jadhav. It is highly unlikely that any request to shift Mr. Jadhav to a civil court would work,” said Chinmaya Gharekhan, who has worked in conflict situations and had been a special envoy of the government.

Mr. Gharekhan said Mr. Jadhav’s case was unique in the history of India-Pakistan hostility and was reminiscent of a Cold War spy drama.

“The other option is to exchange Mr. Jadhav with a Pakistani intelligence official, who, according to some reports, was captured by the Indian agencies from India-Nepal border. If the report of arrest of the Pakistani official is correct, then the government may consider exchanging him with Mr. Jadhav,” said Mr. Gharekhan. Reports have suggested that Lt. Col. Muhammad Habib Zahir, a former ISI official, who reportedly conducted anti-India activities on the India-Nepal border, was arrested by India some time ago.

Peculiar case

Some diplomats have recommended that India should not hurry in responding to this move by Pakistan as the case is peculiar. “What makes this case particularly peculiar is that a foreign national has been court-martialled and the grounds on which he was court-martialled is not at all clear,” said TCA Raghavan, former High Commissioner of India to Islamabad.

He said there were many instances when individuals suspected of being spies were given the death sentence in the usual courts of law in Pakistan and therefore the issue was why a normal legal process was avoided in this case.

Diplomats also said that India woud have to deliberate upon what kind of response would be befitting if Pakistan executed Mr. Jadhav.

“Even long-standing bilateral agreements could come up for reversal, if Pakistan executes Jadhav,” said a diplomat, who urged that officials should not issue belligerent statements at this moment as such statements cannot do any good.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.