indo-pak ties

Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Four main points ICJ made as it stayed his execution

The International Court of Justice made it clear that it will go into all arguments by India and Pakistan more definitively in the subsequent stages.

The International Court of Justice on Thursday asked Pakistan to ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for espionage in April, is not hanged until the ICJ delivers its final verdict in the petition filed by India.

In essence, this is an interim order. The court will now analyse in depth the arguments presented by India and Pakistan. Both countries will get another chance to make oral arguments before the court. Pakistan has the option of appealing against the interim order.

The 11-judge bench sitting in The Hague, Netherlands, unanimously accepted India’s arguments that Pakistan prima facie appeared to have denied Jadhav his rights by refusing consular access. It also accepted India’s demand for provisional orders calling on Pakistan not to execute Jadhav until the case had been fully heard in the ICJ, saying there was a concern that any action by Pakistan could irrevocably damage Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963.

Delivering the provisional orders, ICJ President Ronny Abraham made the following points:

  • Preliminary decision: The ICJ, at the moment, need not satisfy itself “definitively” that it has jurisdiction in the case. It simply said that prima facie there is enough of a case that it can hear the dispute between India and Pakistan. Islamabad had argued that the ICJ does not have powers to hear the case. The court said that, on the face of it, the case seemed to conform to Article 1 of the Optional Protocol concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes. This Article states that “Disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the Convention shall lie within the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and may accordingly be brought before the Court by an application made by any party to the dispute being a Party to the present Protocol.” 
  • Denial of rights: The court accepted India’s contention that Jadhav had been denied consular access and information about his rights “prima facie” seemed to violate the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations. This is how the court linked the Optional Protocol, which gives the ICJ power to hear the case, and the Vienna Convention, which governs consular rights. Since the Vienna Convention seems to have been violated, the Optional Protocol provides ICJ powers to rule over the dispute. Article 36 (a) of the Vienna Convention provides the following rights to prisoners of a foreign country: “Consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State here India] and to have access to them. Nationals of the sending State shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State.” 
  • Pakistan’s claims:  The ICJ also rejected two of Pakistan’s primary arguments against India. First, it said that there was nothing in the Vienna Convention that exempted consular access to those charged with espionage. Second, Pakistan’s claim that there was no urgency in the petition since Jadhav had a remedy in seeking clemency and that there was no possibility of his execution before August. But the court was of the view that the “mere fact” that Jadhav was sentenced to death was “sufficient to demonstrate the existence of a risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by India” and the urgency of the matter. Further, Pakistan refused to provide an assurance that Jadhav would not be executed till the final disposal of the petition, making his hanging a possibility before the proceedings conclude. This also convinced the court that it needed to act and ordered Pakistan not to execute Jadhav. 
  • 2008 agreement: Pakistan had also claimed that the India-Pakistan on Consular Access, signed in 2008, took precedence over the provisions in the Vienna Convention. The ICJ rejected this argument. “There is nothing which prima facie suggests that the Parties, by concluding the 2008 Agreement, have limited or set aside their reciprocal obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” it said. “On the contrary, the 2008 Agreement amplifies, confirms and extends the Parties’ reciprocal obligations relating to consular assistance, for which the Vienna Convention is a framework.” 
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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.