A diplomatic tug of war has been raging between India and Pakistan over death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. A military court in Pakistan has pronounced Kulbhushan Jadhav guilty of espionage and sponsoring terrorism in that country.
Pakistan has claimed that its security agencies arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav while he was trying to enter the country in March last year. Pakistan has also claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a spy of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
Indiatoday.in spoke to a former R&AW officer, who handled important field operations in 'frontier' regions to verify Pakistan's claim on Kulbhushan Jadhav.The former R&AW officer, who did not wish to be named, said that Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav was an Indian spy sent by its external intelligence agency was 'doubtful'.
"Kulbhushan Jadhav can't be an R&AW asset," asserted the former officer.
WHY KULBHUSHAN CAN'T BE R&AW AGENT: 7 REASONS
- The R&AW, usually, doesn't send 'outsiders' to Pakistan. As a matter of rule, only 'assets' living in bordering areas are sent across the border as they know the language and practice the same culture. They easily mix up with the local population. Kulbhushan Jadhav is from Maharashtra and had served in the Indian Navy. It is a disqualification for R&AW for any assignment in Pakistan.
- If the R&AW is to send an 'outsider' to Pakistan, the person must have almost super-human abilities and intellect. The 'asset' must be an extremely keen observer and quick learner, who can assimilate new social behaviour and adopt new practices seamlessly. Such persons are sent on short and extremely vital operations. Kulbhushan Jadhav does not fit the requirements. Also, Kulbhushan Jadhav remained in the region for too long.
- The R&AW does not send its 'assets' carrying Indian passport and that too through a third country. Kulbhushan was holding an Indian passport and tried to enter Pakistan illegally through Iran. This is not the way R&AW carries out its operations.
- The R&AW sends its 'assets' to a country only when it has 'source' in that country. The process is always smooth. It is highly unlikely for an R&AW agent to be caught while crossing the border. The R&AW operations are foolproof.
- What Pakistan counts as evidence in the video of Kulbhushan Jadhav released by its agencies last year, doesn't match with hard facts. Pakistan claimed and Kulbhushan allegedly confessed to have named an R&AW joint secretary by the name Anil Kumar Gupta. There has been no officer bearing the name on that position in the R&AW. Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav had links with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, whom he met briefly can't be true. NSA does not meet field operatives.
- Moreover, the video released by Pakistan has glaring discrepancies. Kulbhushan Jadhav gives two dates for his retirement from Indian Navy. At one point of time, Kulbhushan Jadhav says that he left Indian Navy in 2001. Later, he says that he is still serving the Indian Navy and will retire in 2022. The video has many such instances giving impression that Kulbhushan Jadhav is in 'unstable state of mind' - possibly due to torture or under the influence of some drug.
- Businessmen operating in conflict zone, at times, offer to share information with the R&AW. This is especially done by those who don't do well in their businesses. This works on case to case basis with R&AW accepting some offers while rejecting others. But, such persons are never given longer and critical assignments. Kulbhushan Jadhav had small scale business in Iran. It was not possible for him to have 'deep' contacts. It is improbable that Kulbhushan Jadhav was an R&AW 'asset' of any significance.
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