It appears that Kulbhushan Jadhav was “under considerable stress” and “speaking in an atmosphere of coercion” when he met his mother and wife in Islamabad on Monday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.
Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer facing death penalty in Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism, met his wife and mother Avanti and Chetankul Jadhav at the Pakistan Foreign Office on Monday. The women met Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, as well as Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, on Tuesday, NDTV reported.
“Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate a false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for the ministry, told reporters. “His appearance also raises questions of his health.”
The ministry accused Pakistan of disregarding the family’s “cultural and religious sensibilities” under the pretext of security precautions. In a statement, it said the women were asked to remove their mangal sutra, bangles and bindis and also change their clothes, which he asserted were not warranted by security concerns.
“For some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of his wife were not returned to her after the meeting,” the spokesperson said. “We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard.”
“The manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Jadhav’s alleged activities,” the ministry said in a statement. “The Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner that violated the letter and spirit of our understandings.”
Pakistan was criticised for forcing the family, meeting after months, to speak through an intercom with a glass wall between them. Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had justified it, saying the glass barrier was needed for security reasons.