The Kulbhushan Yadav Case And India’s Diplomatic Win

Kulbhushan Sudhir Yadav is an Indian citizen who was born on the 16th of April, 1970. He was an Indian Naval Officer and served the Indian Navy for several years. According to information obtained from the Indian Foreign Ministry on 10th April,2017, he was kidnapped from Iran about a year ago. He was actually under arrest by the Pakistani government. The Pakistani officials had stated that Mr. Yadav had been arrested in Balochistan and was charged with the crime of terrorism and spying on behalf of the Indian Intelligence Agency’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). However, the subsequent presence of Mr. Kulbhushan Yadav in the Pakistani province has never been transparently explained or accounted for by the Indian government.

Accusations made by Pakistan

The Pakistani government has accused Mr. Yadav of several heinous crimes and hence held him under custody for years. They have stated that Jadav had gained entry into Pakistan from the Chabar port. He was accused of possessing a visa that was stamped with a false passport with the name of Hussain Mubarak. Further analysis by the Pakistani officials has revealed that apparently the Indian government had entrusted upon Yadav the job to destabilise the social framework of Pakistan by amplifying and strengthening a separatist nature of movement within the country. This separatist movement supposedly had its roots in the provinces of Balochistan and Karachi. This entire mission had begun in full swing by the year 2013 and it is believed by Pakistani officials that Mr. Yadav has been closely associated with extensively planning this layout ever since. In addition to that, he has charges on him for spreading sectarian violence in the nation and financially enabling the militant groups to emerge as a rebel against the ruling government. He is also the main accused behind the political and violent uprisings in Karachi.

Yet another keystone allegation against Mr. Yadav has been his attempts to constantly sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that would be a key parameter in boosting Pakistan’s economy. According to charge sheets filed, the operation of sabotaging this economic corridor would have been executed by targeting Gwadar port as a terror plot. The officials have pulled out reports that point out that several other attempts had been made in the past as well to sabotage this particular operation between Pakistan and China. Moreover, he has been proved to create disharmony and distrust among several national political parties in the province of Balochistan according to reports obtained from the Pakistan government.

According to a few confession videos released by Pakistan, Yadav had confessed to be guilty of a few charges against him. He had confessed that he had been working with the Indian government and also asked the Pakistan government to use the phrase “your monkey is with us” in order to inform his handlers and the Indian authority about his arrest. Additionally, it has been proved by Pakistani officials that according to inside information provided by Yadav, after his arrest, they have successfully captured and curbed several other undercover operations by India in Pakistani soil. Research and analysis on this case has pointed out that in reality Mr. Yadav had been working as an undercover agent and working for the Indian government ever since the stack on the Parliament of India took place in the year 2001. On the 10th of April, 2017, Mr. Kulbhushan Yadav was sentenced to death by the Field General Court Marshal in Pakistan. He was tried in a martial court because he was a Naval Officer.

The intervention by India and the ICJ verdict

When the news of Yadav’s execution orders came out in the open, India approached the International Court of Justice to review the orders. The execution orders and the way the entire case had been handled by the Pakistani government was a clear violation of article 36 of the Vienna convention. Pakistani officials had constantly denied any sort of consular access to Mr. Yadav ever since he had been arrested and held in custody by the Pakistani officials in Islamabad. The article 36 of Vienna convention deals with the arrest, detention and trial of a foreign citizen and the clauses of this article were not abided by Pakistan in dealing with this case.

The Vienna Convention or Consular Relations of Article deals with and lays down certain principles for consular relations among independent states. This international treaty was signed in the year 1963 by around 180 countries in total. The objective of this treaty was to provide consular immunity to certain states and their countrymen as well as promote multilateral relationships that include economic and social connections. The International Court of Justice looked into the appeal and began further proceedings regarding this case on 15th of May at Hague to review the matter. 3 days later, on the 18th of May, the International Court issued orders to stay the execution of Mr. Yadav.

Matters became even more complex and blurry when a few days later, Pakistani officials released a confession video where in Mr. Yadav confessed that he was indeed working on the aforementioned projects on the behalf of the Indian Intelligence Agency. He also gave out certain discrete information regarding other ongoing undercover operations by the Indian agencies on the Pakistani soil. According to Pakistan, data obtained from Yadav has helped them to track down other terrorist activities and sabotage Indian projects. Further involvement of the International Court of Justice on the case allowed Mr. Kulbhushan Yadav’s wife and mother to meet him at Islamabad on the 25th of December. Finally on the 17th of July, 2019, the International Court of Justice declared that consular access be granted to him and also reviewed his death sentence. However, India’s appeal to release Mr. Yadav was also rejected by the ICJ and he still remains under custody of the Pakistani government. The reviewing of his death sentence had a split vote of 15:1 where in 15 countries voted in favour of granting consular access to Mr. Yadav and also voted against his execution. Not surprisingly, the only country who voted against it was Pakistan.

Contesting grounds

The entire situation was a huge diplomatic challenge that was lying in front of India to deal with. This case had however snowballed into a strained flash-point between India and Pakistan. When India had appealed the International Court of Justice to review this case it had two main points to make, the first being the breach of the Vienna Convention by not granting consular access to Mr. Yadav. The second strong point and yet stronger appeal being the immediate release of Mr. Yadav because of the very low standard of proceedings regarding this entire case on the behalf of the Pakistani government and authorities. The trial of Mr. Yadav in a military court has been one of the weakest points in the entire case from the Pak government’s side and that could have been a reason for them to fear the review by the ICJ.

Several other discrepancies and disagreed instances prevail in the narratives provided by the Indian and Pakistani sides. Pakistan has said that he was a serving Naval Officer while Indian authorities had clarified that he had retired a long time ago. If India would have been able to prove their side of the story then it would have become a mandate for the Pakistani officials to grant consular access to him without any further delay. The fundamental juncture of disagreement between the two sides has been present right from the start of the story– while India has maintained that he had been kidnapped from Iran and not provided any concrete reason for Mr. Kulbhushan’s presence in Balochistan, the Pakistani government has maintained that he was arrested from Balochistan on the 3rd of May, 2016 after he entered with a passport and falsified visa. The staying of the orders of his execution and granting of consular access has been a keystone achievement in the diplomatic victories for India in the international sphere.

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