Indian Diplomat Rebuffs Handshake, Offers ‘Namaskar’ Instead to Pak Attorney General in ICJ

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Amid tensions over the Pulwama terrorist attack, India presented its arguments in the high-profile Kulbhushan Jadhav case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Monday, when public hearings on the case began, only four days after the deadly suicide attack. that killed 44 Indian soldiers.

Tensions between the two nations were visible even as Indian diplomats, including India’s Foreign Secretary Deepak Mittal, met with Pakistan’s Attorney General, Anwar Mansoor Khan, at the International Court of Justice. When the two met before the hearing, Mittal, in a clear sign of suspension of diplomatic relations, rejected the hand of Khan that extended in greeting. Abandoning the handshake, a smiling Mittal chose to respond with a firm ‘Namaskar’ instead.

The moment was captured in an Associate Press photograph of the audience.

Close followers of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case would be aware that this is not the first time that Mittal does not shake hands with a Pakistani official in The Hague, but decides to fold his hands in a ‘namaskar’.

Jadhav, a retired officer of the Indian Navy, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice on May 8, 2017 for the “serious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention. on consular relations, 1963 by Pakistan by repeatedly denying consular access to Jadhav.

During the first hearing of the same in The Hague, Mittal offered a similar gesture to greet Syed Faraz Hussain Zaidi, advisor to the Embassy of Pakistan in the Netherlands as an Advisor. Many media companies at that time reported that the gesture was a sign of frozen diplomatic relations between the two states.