Kulbhushan Jadhav
In picture: Kulbhushan Jadhav.Twitter/Doordarshan News

The International Court of Justice will deliver its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at 6.30 pm on Wednesday, July 17. India has objected to the death sentence given to Jadhav on charges of espionage by a Pakistani military court.

Jadhav, who was a former Indian Navy officer, was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016 and was sentenced to death a year later after being labelled a "spy" and "terrorist". His execution has been restrained by the ICJ till the adjudication of the case.

Pakistan has asserted that Jadhav was arrested in a counter-intelligence operation in 2016. He was accused of working with Indian intelligence operators in Balochistan. The disputed region bordering Afghanistan has been known to be the place where India allegedly backs anti-Pakistan militants.

Pakistan has argued that Jadhav was conducting "unlawful activities" that were "directed at creating anarchy in Pakistan", particularly targeting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

India has rejected all the claims and said that Jadhav has no linkages with intelligence agency RAW. The government also claims that he is being targetted for serving in the defence forces and doing business in Iran.

Representing India before the ICJ, senior advocate Harish Salve said that the case is "farcical" and Pakistan's accusations are based on "malicious propaganda". Indian lawyers have argued that Jadhav's trial in Pakistan had "hopelessly failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process".

India has also claimed that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention by failing to provide consular access to Jadhav, which is the ability to consult embassy officials of their own country in a foreign nation. Pakistan has countered the claims saying that since Jadhav was an Indian spy who illegally entered Pakistan. They claim that he is not entitled to receive consular access.

The ICJ had reserved its verdict in the case after the conclusion of arguments from India and Pakistan on February 22.

India-Pakistan relations

Analysts say that the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is crucial to the future of relations between India and Pakistan. The verdict in Jadhav's favour will be linked to Pakistan's sincerity in improving ties with India.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated in February when both the countries engaged in aggressive military airstrikes following a suicide bomb attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in J&K.