Washington, April 13 (PTI):: Pakistan is likely to use the Kulbhushan Jadhav “spying case” as a bargaining chip to wrest concessions from India, an American think tank member feels.
“Given how much India will want to ensure that Jadhav isn’t executed, Pakistan now has a very large bargaining chip at its disposal. Pakistan may want to use him as a trump card to get some type of major concession from India,” said Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director and Senior Associate for South Asia at the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Center.
“This whole story is shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, but it seems clear that Pakistan wants to send a very strong message to India, whether to warn New Delhi against meddling in Pakistan or to push back in a big way against India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan on the world stage,” Kugelman said.
“The bottom line is that India-Pakistan relations are on life support,” he pointed out.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament that India will do every thing possible to get Jadhav released and warned Pakistan to consider the consequences of its action for bilateral relations.
Jadhav, 46, was awarded the death sentence by a military Field General Court Martial under the army act for his alleged involvement in terrorism and espionage. The death sentence was confirmed by army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Alyssa Ayres, a former senior State Department official in its South and Central Asia Bureau said: “Apart from the gross irregularities in the Jadhav situation, such as the lack of consular access and the secrecy surrounding the surprise court-martial, what struck me the most is the contrast between the speed of Mr Jadhav’s trial set against the endless postponements for that of the Mumbai attackers,” said.
“The latter case, by contrast, has been in a continual state of prolongation for nearly nine years,” Ayres said.
Bharat Gopalaswamy, Director of South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-DC based top US think-tank, believes that the evidence warranting Jadhav’s conviction “is rather flimsy” and the story by the Pakistani authorities “do not add up”.
Without furnishing further evidence, this conviction as it stands, “seems to be politically motivated” in order to counter India’s aggressive diplomacy against Pakistan in combating terrorism, he said.
(The featured image at the top is that of Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson Center)