India has cancelled the maritime security dialogue with Pakistan that was scheduled to take place in New Delhi from April 16 to April 19. The move comes amid tensions over the death sentence handed out to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani Army court on charges of spying.
A delegation led by the neighbouring country's Maritime Security Agency (MSA) was scheduled to visit Delhi early next week to hold discussion of matters related to fishermen and search and rescue operations. However, sources from Indian Coast Guard told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the Defence Ministry has not given clearance for the delegation's visit.
The central government has put all bilateral talks with Pakistan on hold over Jadhav's death sentence. Besides calling off the maritime security dialogue between the director generals of the Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistani MSA, Water Secretary-level talks have also been put on hold because the Indian side did not communicate acceptance of dates that were proposed by Pakistan. The Pakistani side had proposed to hold talks towards the end of April.
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Pakistan denies consular access to Jadhav for the 14th time
On Friday, Pakistan had denied consular access to Jadhav for the 14th time. India had demanded a certified copy of the chargesheet and judgement and also sought consular access to Jadhav.
"I have asked for a certified copy of the charge-sheet as well as the judgement in the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav. They have denied our request for consular access 13 times (in the last one year). I have again requested the Pakistan Foreign Secretary to give access to Jadhav so that we can appeal," Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale told the Press Trust of India (PTI) after meeting with the Pakistan foreign secretary.
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Manohar Parrikar says Pak playing "dangerous game"
On Friday evening, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told Doordarshan in an interview that Pakistan was playing a "dangerous game" by sentencing Jadhav to death. "It should understand that if India starts retaliating then it does not have the power to fight back, whatever they may project themselves to be... But, we want peace. We do not want provocation. So, they should send Jadhav back," he said.
Parrikar added: "First of all, they have abducted him. He was not in Pakistan. He was in Iran. Iran has said that the Taliban kidnapped him and took him to Pakistan. Pakistan has a habit of doing something or other."