Kulbhushan Jadhav under pressure to parrot Pakistan's false narrative: MEA

New Delhi: Hours after its official had consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad, India on Monday said that the former naval officer appeared to be "under extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative to bolster Pakistan's untenable claims".

The Ministry of External Affairs said it will decide further course of action after receiving a detailed report from Charge d' Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia, who met Jadhav, and determining the extent of conformity to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directives. Replying to queries on the issue, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that consular access given to Jadhav on Monday was part of the binding obligations of Pakistan on the orders of the ICJ to ensure effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence awarded to Jadhav through "a farcical process".

"The Charge d' Affaires, High Commission of India in Islamabad, met Kulbhushan Jadhav today. This meeting was held in the light of the unanimous judgement of the International Court of Justice delivered on July 17, 2019, which found Pakistan in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, on many counts and ordered Pakistan to provide Indian consular officers access to Jadhav," he said.

"While we await a comprehensive report, it was clear that 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 ICJ directives," the spokesperson added on Monday. Meanwhile, Pakistan said that the meeting, which lasted for two hours, took place in the presence of its officials and was recorded even though New Delhi had asked for "effective and unhindered" consular access to him.

"Consular access was provided at 1200 hours and lasted for two hours in the presence of officials of Government of Pakistan. 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," Pakistan MoFA said in a statement. In his remarks, Kumar said that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to Jadhav's mother and briefed her on the day's developments.

He said the government remains committed to continue to work towards ensuring that "Jadhav receives justice at the earliest and returns safely to India." Pakistan had announced in April 2017 that Jadhav had been given death sentence by a military court. India had subsequently moved the ICJ.India has rejected Pakistan's allegations about Jadhav's involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business.

Pakistan first offered access on August 2 but India had insisted that the consular access should be "unimpeded". Kumar had said on Thursday that two sides were in touch through diplomatic channels and India had sought "immediate, effective and unhindered". In a major diplomatic victory for India, the ICJ, in July, had asked Pakistan to comply with the Vienna Conventions and provide consular access to Jadhav and to ensure "effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences".

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