India cancels maritime talks with Pakistan over spy death sentence

April 15, 2017

India has cancelled maritime talks with Pakistan, slated for early next week, a development seen as a fallout of the death penalty handed down to India’s former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court for spying.

Highly placed sources said Saturday that the talks between India’s Coast Guard and Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) in New Delhi on issues related to fishermen and search and rescue operations had been scrapped for the time being, Xinhua reported

“The Indian defense ministry has, in fact, not given its nod to the visit of a delegation of MSA officials on April 16. So, the maritime talks between Pakistan and India have been called off,” the sources said.

The development came amid tension between the two countries over Jadhav’s death sentence and a day after India criticised Pakistan for not disclosing his location as well as not giving consular access to him as per international conventions, despite repeated requests.

India on Monday made it clear to Pakistan that if Islamabad carried out the death sentence handed down to one of its nationals for alleged spying in Pakistan, then New Delhi would treat it as “a case of premeditated murder”.

Jadhav was given death penalty earlier this week by a military court for spying, which was later confirmed by Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa.

Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) said that Jadhav, who was living as Hussein Mubarak Patel, was arrested on March 3 last year through a “Counter Intelligence Operation” from Balochistan’s Mashkel.

It also said that Jadhav was arrested for his alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, and “the spy” has been tried through the Field General Court Martial (FCGM) and was sentenced to death.

Pakistan said Jadhav was arrested near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border of Chaman in Balochistan over illegal entry into the country.