Why has India called Kulbhushan Jadhav – their own naval officer – “mentally unstable”? Why does it refuse to avail consular access again? Why are they refusing to appoint a lawyer for their captured spy? The Correspondent.PK resolves the mystery.

The altercation

According to sources, on 16th July the Indian Chargé d’affaires (C’DA) Gaurav Ahluwalia was provided second consular access to Jadhav in the presence of Pakistani officials; the first consular access was provided on 2nd September 2019.

However, Ahluwalia arrived at the meeting with a pre-planned scheme to scuttle plans for any further consular access given by Pakistan.

During the meeting, Gaurav Ahluwalia initiated a quarrel with Kulbhushan Jadhav after which Commander Jadhav was called “mentally unstable” and “inattentive” by the Indian C’DA.

Anguished by the name calling, Jadhav lashed out at the Indian diplomat.

“How can you declare a commissioned senior officer of the Indian Navy mentally unstable? Do you not know the protocols?”

“I am in the most perfect condition, in the right frame of mind and I am fully attentive,” Jadhav said to Gaurav Ahluwalia.

After the altercation, Kulbhushan Jadhav asked the Pakistani official present in the room: “am I very famous in Pakistan?”

The Indian plan

Why did Indian diplomats insult their naval officer? Sources said if India wants continued access to Jadhav, as well as access to all the documentary evidence against the captured spy, they would have to appoint a lawyer which would represent Jadhav in any future review hearing.

However, this would equate to India accepting Pakistani courts’ jurisdiction on the matter of review and reconsideration, and accepting that a Pakistani court will decide any future appeals.

In an effort to stall, India had previously asked – knowing full well that it is not legally possible to do so – to appoint an Indian lawyer to represent Jadhav in a Pakistani court.  

Sources indicated that having failed at that, the best option India had was to insult their own naval officer, declare him “mentally unstable”, break all diplomatic norms, and run away from the process altogether.

In a recent interview with Karan Thapar from the Indian publication The Wire, Advisor on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning Dr. Moeed Yusuf had also hinted at Kulbhushan Jadhav’s altercation with the Indian diplomats.

“It is very odd, but the guy [Jadhav] feels distressed for being dumped by his own country and government when this started. He is the one who has said, I am not going to hand over the rights to decide who is going to represent me to the Indian government.”

Indicating that India is dragging its feet on the matter, Dr Yusuf said, “two consular meetings have been provided, the third one has been offered for long, and Khulbushan Jadhav, the agent of terrorism in Pakistan, said I want to pursue the mercy petition instead.”        

The case

The former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested on March 2016 in Balochistan. He was convicted of planning espionage and sabotage and sentenced to death by a military tribunal. In an expected move, India tried to distance itself from on-duty commander and claimed Jadhav retired from the Navy in 2001.

India took the position that Jadhav was running a logistics business in the Iranian port of Chabahar and he was captured from Iran not in Balochistan. India demanded the release and acquittal of its spy and diplomatic access.

Pakistan denied all demands, following which India took the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In 2019 the ICJ gave a verdict in favour of Pakistan as the court did not order the acquittal and release of Jadhav. The ICJ had three binding observations; that the death sentence be stayed, consular access be provided, and a review and reconsideration process be started.  

Pakistan has done all three. However, once consular access was provided, India realized that it would have to accept Pakistan’s jurisdiction to proceed, which has ultimately led to all these schemes designed to stall for time.  


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