Hours after Kulbhushan Jadhav was granted consular access for the first time in three-and-a-half years, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday, August 2, that he "appeared to be under extreme pressure" to endorse Pakistan's false narrative. – The retired naval officer has been on the death row in Pakistan since 2017.
While a formal report on Monday's two-hour-long meeting between the Indian Charge d' Affaires, Gaurav Ahluwalia, and Jadhav is yet to come, foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said it was clear that "Shri Jadhav appeared to be under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims."
"We will decide a further course of action after receiving a detailed report from our Cd'A and determining the extent of conformity to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directives," said Kumar after the meeting, which took place at a sub-jail.
Pakistan had said on Sunday that it will grant consular access to Jadhav in line with the judgment by the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ). The court had ruled in July that India should be allowed consular access to Jadhav and stayed his execution. Islamabad was also held guilty of violating the Vienna convention.
India's requests for consular access were earlier repeatedly refused by Pakistan, claiming spies are not allowed such privileges under an agreement made with India in 2008. After studying the offer made by Pakistan on Sunday, India had accepted it, hoping for the meeting to not become a "sham" and a "propaganda exercise".
"We hope that Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders," the government said before the meeting.
However, while India had earlier asked for "full access" and raised concerns about "privacy" during the meeting, a statement by the Pakistani foreign office said that the proceedings were recorded and monitored by Pakistani officials.
"Consular access was provided...in the presence of officials of the government of Pakistan," the statement read.
"On Indian request, there was no restriction on the language of communication. In order to ensure transparency and in line with standard operating procedures, and as conveyed to the Indian side in advance, the access was recorded," it added.
It further said that "unimpeded, uninterrupted consular access" was provided.
Kumar said after the meeting that India is committed to ensuring that Jadhav "receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India". He added that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Jadhav's mother and briefed her of the meeting's development.
Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 and was sentenced to death a year later by the country's military court for alleged 'espionage' and 'terrorism'. India had approached the ICJ after diplomatic talks failed between the two countries.