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India calls off maritime talks with Pakistan over Kulbhushan Jadhav row

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-04-2017 PTI

New Delhi: India has called off the Indo-Pak maritime security dialogue it was to host next week in the backdrop of tensions arising over the death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of spying in Pakistan.

Minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh said India is taking all measures to gain consular access to Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, despite Pakistan denying it “13 times”. Singh said, the government is trying everything to get access to Jadhav.

A delegation of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) was to visit New Delhi on 16-19 April to discuss issues related to fishermen of both the countries, who are arrested for trespassing, and search and rescue operations with the Indian Coast Guard. Coast Guard sources said the ministry of defence has not given clearance for the delegation’s visit.

The development comes amid tensions between the two countries over Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, being awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court. India has said if Jadhav were to be executed, it will be considered as a “premeditated murder”.

As per an MoU signed between maritime security agencies of India and Pakistan in 2006, coast guard delegations of the two countries would visit each other every year. Last July, a three-member delegation of the Indian Coast Guard, headed by director general Rajendra Singh, had visited Pakistan to discuss maritime issues between the two countries. “This was to be a reciprocal visit by a delegation of PMSA headed by their DG,” a senior Coast Guard official said.

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