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Consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; IOBR)

Source: The Hindu

Consular access
More than three and a half years after Pakistan announced it had arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of espionage and terrorism, India finally received consular access to him. The path to receiving the access, which should technically have been provided shortly after the arrest, had to be bitterly fought for by India.

Vienna Convention of 1963
Despite being a signatory to the Vienna Convention of 1963, which mandates that arrested foreign nationals be allowed to meet consular officers, Pakistan refused the access until it was ordered to by the International Court of Justice at the Hague this July 17 in response to an Indian petition.

Access in video cameras and in front of Pakistan officials
Even after India won the case for consular access, Pakistan took weeks to respond, offering to allow the meeting only in the presence of video cameras, and Pakistani officials. India rejected this at first, and it is unclear why the government finally accepted those same terms, and nominated its Charge d’affaires to meet Mr. Jadhav despite the conversation being recorded, and Pakistani officials being present.

Responses of Mr. Jadhav
According to the officials who met him, Mr. Jadhav’s responses during the meeting seemed to be tutored and coerced, much like his “confessional” statements that were released by Pakistan during his trial in a military court. The MEA concluded that he was under “extreme pressure to parrot a false narrative”. As a result, Pakistan’s consular access appears to be as much of a sham as the trial itself, which was held in complete secrecy. And Mr. Jadhav, who was not allowed to choose a competent lawyer, was pronounced guilty and handed a death penalty in a matter of months.



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