New Delhi: The “video confession” of a former naval officer arrested on charges of espionage in Pakistan has been firmly rejected by India.
Kulbhushan Yadav’s six-minute-long statement was released by Pakistani government officials today; the Indian says he is working for India’s top intel agency, RAW, and that he is still with the Indian navy. After his arrest last week, Delhi made it clear that though, Mr Yadav is an Indian, he retired from the navy and has “no links with the government” since then.
“The video has this individual making statements which have no basis in fact. That the individual claims to make the statements of his own free will not only challenges credulity but clearly indicates tutoring,” a statement by India said.
Sources accuse Pakistan of “spy games” and ducking responsibility for the terror attack on the air force base in Pathankot in January in which seven military personnel were killed.
India has asked a visiting team of Pakistani investigators, who toured the air force base today, to provide access to Masood Azhar, chief of the Jaish-E-Mohammed terror group, who masterminded the Pathankot assault.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has also questioned Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access to Mr Yadav, a violation of international protocol.
In the video that aired today, Mr Yadav makes a series of comments that match Pakistan’s allegations about fuelling the separatist movement in Balochistan, its largest but least developed province, and inciting violence in Karachi. India has repeatedly denied any interest or interference in either area.
Mr Yadav says in the video that he lives in Mumbai and is “still a serving officer in the Indian navy, due for retirement by 2022.”
He says he began working as an intel recruit after the attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 in which nine people were killed and that he then set up a small business in Iran which provided him cover for frequent trips to Pakistan before becoming a RAW agent in 2013.
He says he was caught while trying to cross in to Pakistan from Iran on March 3.