NEW DELHI: India Wednesday hailed the verdict of the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders across the political spectrum calling it a victory of "truth and justice".
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the "landmark judgement" validated India's position in the case "fully" and asked Pakistan to implement the directive of the ICJ like extending consular access to Jadhav immediately.
In a major victory for India, the ICJ ruled Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav and asked it to provide consular access to him.
The MEA said India will continue to work vigorously for his early release and return to India.
The opposition Congress also welcomed the verdict, saying justice has prevailed but pointed out that Jadhav's safety is unaddressed and he remains "vulnerable" to another "miscarriage of justice" by Pakistan.
Modi, in a tweet, said his government will always work for the safety and welfare of every Indian, adding he was sure Jadhav will get justice.
"We welcome today's verdict. Truth and justice have prevailed. Congratulations to the ICJ for a verdict based on extensive study of facts," the prime minister said.
Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah termed it a victory of truth which protects human dignity.
"A great day at the @CIJ_ICJ! The verdict is a victory of truth and protects human dignity. It is yet another manifestation of Modi Government's diplomatic efforts and commitment to protect all Indians. I congratulate Harish Salve ji for his stupendous efforts through the case," he tweeted.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he spoke to Jadhav's family and applauded their courage.
"Satyameva Jayate," he tweeted.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh described the judgement as a big win for India while former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj hoped it will provide much- needed solace to Jadhav's family.
"The ICJ's verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav is big victory for India. The ICJ directing Pakistan to grant consular access to Jadhav and asking them to review the conviction and the sentence is a welcome decision. It is also a big win for PM Narendra Modi's diplomatic initiative," Singh said.
Joining the ruling party leaders in welcoming the verdict, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hoped Jadhav returns to India soon.
"I welcome the ICJ verdict. My thoughts tonight are with #KulbhushanJadhav , alone in a prison cell in Pakistan & with his distraught family for whom this verdict brings a rare moment of relief, joy & renewed hope, that he will one day be free to return to his home in India," he tweeted.
Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said justice has at last prevailed and all of India joined Jadhav's family in their joy.
Swaraj termed it a great victory.
"I wholeheartedly welcome the verdict of International Court of Justice in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav. It is a great victory for India," she tweeted.
She thanked Prime Minister Modi for taking the case to the ICJ and senior advocate Harish Salve for arguing the matter very effectively and successfully.
BJP working president J P Nadda credited Modi's strong foreign policy and diplomacy for the development and expressed confidence that India will be able to ensure justice to Jadhav in a same way it ensured the return of IAF pilot Abhinandan, who was captured by Pakistan after the Balakot strikes.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a series of tweets said his party welcomes the ICJ decision of holding Pakistan to be in stark violation of the Vienna Convention and staying the illegally ordered execution of Jadhav.
He, however added, "Every Indian's concern for safety & well being of Kulbhushan Jadav remains unaddressed! ICJ has authorised rogue Pakistan to -- 1.Review and reconsider Jadhav's case; 2.In a 'manner' and 'forum' of their choosing. Leaves Jadhav vulnerable to another miscarriage of justice."
Surjewala also said that the refusal by the ICJ to allow the return of Jadhav to India is "unnerving".
The Trinamool Congress also hailed the verdict.
"The ruling of the ICJ in the #KulbhushanJadhav case is a welcome development. Hope he is reunited with his family soon," the party tweeted.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017.
India had approached the ICJ against Pakistan military court's decision in May, 2017 and the world court stayed his execution then.
The ICJ, by a vote of 15-1, upheld India's claim that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 on several counts in the case.
"We also appreciate the direction by the ICJ that Pakistan should review and reconsider the conviction and sentence given to Jadhav by the Pakistani military court," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"We note that the court has directed that Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him in accordance with the Vienna Convention," he added.
The MEA official said India expected Pakistan to implement the directive of the ICJ immediately.
The verdict in the case comes nearly five months after the bench led by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan.