India is projecting as a diplomatic victory its success in getting the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to stay the execution of retired naval officer and alleged spy KulbhushanJadhav, in the custody of Pakistani authorities since last year. But the truth is a little more complex.


First, the ICJ “stay” on the execution is hardly a confirmed verdict — although it is hoped that Pakistan will abide by the norms of the Vienna Convention and return an Indian citizen its agencies kidnapped, or lured, from Iran. The “stay” is actually a “letter” the ICJ has written to the prime minister of Pakistan, requesting that while the court’s decision is pending, “(it) act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on this request to have its appropriate effect.”


Meaning, Pakistan shouldn’t hang Jadhav at least until the ICJ delivers its verdict. Since there is no verdict so far, Pakistan can claim its hands have been only partially tied by the ICJ.


Challenge to India’s position of no third party intervention in bilateral dispute


India chose to involve a “third party” in a dispute with Pakistan. This goes against the fundamental grain of India’s foreign policy.


The possibility of Pakistani retaliation — going to the UN against alleged human rights violations on Kashmir, for example — kept India away from that road in the worst years of the early 1990s and even in 1999, in the middle of the Kargil conflict when Pakistan mutilated and tortured Captain SaurabhKalia. Going to the ICJ has blurred the “lakshmanrekha”. The truth is that India and Pakistan have to sit across the table and talk to each other.


(Adapted from The Indian Express)