ISLAMABAD: In a joint press conference by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid on Tuesday, a video of arrested Indian Navy officer Kulbushan Yadav was aired in which he confessed to involvement in terror activities in Balochistan and Karachi.
Terming the Indian spy’s arrest a ‘big achievement’, Bajwa said Yadav was directly handled by the RAW chief, the Indian National Security Adviser and the RAW joint secretary.
“His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a special target,” Bajwa said, adding, “This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism… There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan.”
“If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” Bajwa said, before going on to play a video of Yadav confessing to Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) involvement in Balochistan separatist activities in Pakistan.
MEA rejects claims in video
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday rejected the claims of Pakistan that the Indian man who was arrested in Balochistan on March 22 was a RAW agent. “Government categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest,” said the ministry after the Pakistani authorities released a video showing Kulbhushan Jadhav making claims that the Research and Analysis Wing was involved in separatist activities in the Pakistani province.
“Seen the video released by Pakistan of a former Indian Naval officer, doing business in Iran, in Pakistan custody under unexplained circumstances. Video has individual making statements which have no basis in fact. Relevant to note that despite our request, we have not been given consular access to Indian national under detention in foreign country. We are concerned about his well-being in these circumstances, said the MEA
The ministry maintained that as per its inquiries it was revealed that that Jadhav was apparently being harassed while operating a legitimate business from Iran. “While we probe this aspect further, his presence now in Pakistan raises questions, including the possibility of his abduction from Iran, said MEA adding that it would become clear only if the Indian authorities are given consular access to him.
“We urge the Govt of Pakistan to respond immediately to our request,” said MEA. (Agencies)
In the video, Yadav, who hails from Mumbai, said he had joined India’s National Defence Academy in 1987 before going on to join the Indian Navy in 1991.
“I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022,” he said.
By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end,” Yadav said.
Since then, he said he has been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan “at the behest of RAW”, adding that he had played a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
“I am basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan,” he said, “especially in the Baloch student organisation”. His purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration”, he explained.
“These activities have been of anti-national or terrorist nature,” he said, as they resulted in the “killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens”.
Law enforcement agencies arrested Yadav in an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan’s Chaman near the shared border with Afghanistan last week.
The Indian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed the arrested man was a former Indian Navy officer, but the Pakistani government claimed to have recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities of Yadav, establishing him as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran — holding a valid Iranian visa.
Yadav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed that he had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot. The official had said the ‘RAW agent’ is believed to be expert at Naval fighting techniques.
After Yadav’s arrest, Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to lodge a strong protest over ‘India’s spying activities’ in Balochistan and Karachi.
Following revelations by the Indian spy, security was tightened across Balochistan, especially at the shared borders with Iran and Afghanistan.
Yadav’s arrest occurred just days before a possible meeting between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, whose meeting to restart the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) in January was derailed by the Pathankot attack, were also due to meet in Washington.
At the beginning of March, Aziz had said that foreign-secretary levels talks would resume after the probe team’s visit. The Pathankot Joint Investigation Team left for New Delhi on Sunday (today) and is expected to investigate the attack over the next week.
Pakistan and India had agreed to resume peace talks under the newly-coined phrase of CBD during Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia Conference last year.
The dialogue was to take on matters related to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.