NEW DELHI: India is engaging all options in its arsenal by engaging with the Pakistan government and leveraging it's influence with the US to put pressure on Islamabad to see reason in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
The US National Security Advisor (NSA) HR McMaster will be visiting India on his maiden visit to India on the weekend and he will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
Doval is expected to raise the 'indefensible' verdict of Pakistan's military court to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an innocent retired Indian Navy officer. However, Spokesperson Gopal Baglay did not comment on the issue but assured that "the leadership is seized of the matter. We will do all that is possible. We are engaged, we are pursuing various options."
This is important as the UN has made it clear that it will not intervene in the matter. The Indian Government has also kept the option of communicating with the Pakistan government option as the sense here is that the severe verdict is the result of tussle for power between Pakistan military and government. Meanwhile, at Corps Commander Conference organised in Rawalpindi that was presided by Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa, the Pakistan Army showed its rigid position on matter.
The forum concluded that "no compromise shall be made on such anti-state acts". The Indian government also invoked international norms that Pakistan government is flouting by not giving them consular access to Jadhav.
"We don't know where is he (Jadhav) in Pakistan or we cannot ascertain what is his condition. Pakistan Government has also not shared this with us....International Law says when one country's national falls into custody of another for whatever reason," Baglay explained. He further added that it is difficult for India to verify Pakistan's claims that Jadhav, "an alleged serving Indian Naval officer on an alleged spying mission entered Pakistan with original Indian Passport".
India has also raised the matter of disappearance of Kulbhushan Jadhav from Chahbahar Port, where he was doing business legally, with the Iranian government. And now the government would be following it up with Iran to know the findings of its investigations.
As the "national sentiment" in India is focused on Jadhav, Pakistan military has also send feelers that it is not in a hurry to execute him. He is likely to be used as a bargaining chip in larger negotiations. The previous handling of Indians by Pakistan in the past doesn't augur well for Jadhav.
In what is an election year in Pakistan, Jadhav's release anytime soon is an unlikely affair and he is going to be involved in a long drawn process in the country before his fate is sealed. India might be taking a leaf out of its experience with what happened in the case of Surjeet Singh and Sarabjit Singh.
Both of them had spent decades in Pakistan jail before the former was released and latter was killed by jail inmates in a brawl.