Pakistan-India ties: Spook’s arrest threatens back channel contacts

Published: March 31, 2016
Video shows Kulbhushan Yadav, who is suspected of being an Indian spy, during a press conference in Islamabad on March 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Video shows Kulbhushan Yadav, who is suspected of being an Indian spy, during a press conference in Islamabad on March 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP


A backchannel mechanism between the national security advisers (NSA) of Pakistan and India to discuss security and terrorism related issues is in danger of being scrapped after the name of Ajit Doval surfaced in the ongoing controversy surrounding the arrest of an Indian spy.

Security officials claimed that Kulbhushan Yadav’s confessional statement has confirmed the Indian NSA’s role as being the architect of Research and Analysis Wing’s current policy of stoking violence in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan.

India rejects ‘tutored’ spy confession

On Tuesday, chief military spokesperson Lt Gen Asim Salim Bajwa minced no words while pointing fingers at Doval. He claimed that Yadav was being directly handled by the Indian NSA and the RAW chief.

The serious nature of the allegation against Doval has compelled Pakistan to reconsider the arrangement the two neighbours had put in place at the NSAs-level last year to discuss counter-terrorism issues through back channels.

Both Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua were instrumental in normalising ties between the two countries. They held secret talks in Bangkok in December that eventually paved the way for an agreement between the two countries to resume bilateral dialogue. Since then they remained in contact, particularly after the January attack on the Indian airbase in Pathankot.

Recently, the Pakistani NSA even shared crucial intelligence with Doval about the infiltration of some militants into India to carry out terrorist attacks.

However, in the aftermath of Yadav’s arrest and his subsequent confession, Pakistan is now assessing whether to continue engagement with the Indian NSA, who in the past advocated the policy of supporting militant groups to neutralise terror threats emanating from Pakistan. “Is it appropriate to talk to a person who is directly involved in creating instability in Pakistan?” asked a security official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Detained Indian spy confesses to RAW’s involvement in Balochistan

It is believed that the military establishment has already conveyed its concerns to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the role of Doval. The final decision, however, will be taken by the premier, who has so far not directly commented on Yadav’s arrest and his confession.

The government is understood to have been waiting for details before taking any decision. Sources said scrapping the backchannel mechanism between the NSAs will lead to the derailment of the entire peace process.

The two countries are already struggling to fix a date for a key meeting between their foreign secretaries, who were to originally meet in January but the Pathankot attack led to the cancellation of talks. There were hopes that the foreign secretaries might meet in April but their talks are now far from certain in the wake of the latest war of words between the two neighbours.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2016.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (25)

  • Prada
    Mar 31, 2016 - 9:50AM

    Is he a 1-Man Army?
    Where are his accomplices?
    What are the incidents he perpetrated in Pakistan?
    How come an “officer” is doing the job reserved for foot-soldiers?
    It is clear that forces in Pakistan want to scupper talks with India. The Pathankot incident was meant to do that but when that didn’t work and India did not abandon talks, Plan B is now being used.Recommend

  • Lord
    Mar 31, 2016 - 10:15AM

    Still we can talk to him remembering that we are enemies so we are cooking plans against each other. If he is involved thats part of his duty.Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Mar 31, 2016 - 10:20AM

    Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are maintaining a resolute mum over the arrest of

    their indian masters’ spy responsible for terror attacks in Pakistan.

    Now that’s real loyalty to one’s business interests. Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Mar 31, 2016 - 10:23AM

    “It is believed that the military establishment has already conveyed its concerns to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif about the role of Doval. The final decision, however, will be taken by the premier ……. ”

    Incorrect ….. the decisions are being imposed on Premier and cracks have started appearing in public. It is just a matter of time. Wait and watch ….. :-)Recommend

  • Saleem
    Mar 31, 2016 - 10:55AM

    You have to understand the Banayya mentality when dealing for back channel talks. It is a general term that is associated not with a cast but character. It was taught to us by ancestors and believe me after working with this creed in middle east, I am assured that it holds true. It may subside in the generation X but until then the core value of ‘smiling in front while stabbing the enemy at back’ should be kept in mind. Whereas we may consider this as unethical but it is not only accepted but ethical practice for them. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Mar 31, 2016 - 10:58AM

    Then attacks on Pakistan should have increased since Doval but Pakistan media says that attacks have decreased.Recommend

  • Mar 31, 2016 - 11:05AM

    I agree with you. No way Pakistani deep state or establishment will let the relations between two country normalise. After all it is the question of bread and butter. All these games are being played to defeat maneuvers of Civil dispension in power to normalise relations and put establishment at its right place in a democracy. We are watching with interest this game of chess.Recommend

  • JJ
    Mar 31, 2016 - 11:11AM

    And the serial continues.Each episode is guaranteed to be more entertaining than the previous one.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Mar 31, 2016 - 11:12AM

    don’t advice or explain them,there future is in their hand if if they don’t want progress and wish to remain in conflict with all their neighbours throughout their lifetime then that decision is something that they have to make,after all they have been doing this since last 67 years and in this 67 years a gap between has widen so much that it will continue to grow more and more if they continue hatching this kind of fake conspiracy theories.India as a state is not perturbed by such baseless things.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Mar 31, 2016 - 11:44AM

    No need of any intelligence sharing with Indian NSA. They have back stabbed Pakistan. Time for moving forward and doing the same what India is doing in Pakistan.Recommend

  • SKS
    Mar 31, 2016 - 12:10PM

    @Saleem, I do not know how you can write without laughing. Inspite of all the non-state actors present, you think ‘Banayya’ should not retaliate? Can you even fathom the size of India to bracket everyone?Recommend

  • Nauman
    Mar 31, 2016 - 12:32PM

    @Prada: job for foot solider???? are you stupid or just naive!Recommend

  • Abid Hafeez
    Mar 31, 2016 - 12:33PM

    what is left to say, India is pretending to be a friend but indeed it still a dangerous foe.Recommend

  • Uzair Khan
    Mar 31, 2016 - 12:39PM

    Haha Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 31, 2016 - 1:17PM

    If People want peace and friendly relations, nothing can come in their way. Adopt Socialism.Recommend

  • SHah
    Mar 31, 2016 - 1:41PM


    Its always bread and butter for Pakistanis right? Indian on the other side are very trustful?!?!Recommend

  • vaibhav india
    Mar 31, 2016 - 2:40PM


    Stop this peace talk drama……

    ……..take these people to international courts and prove it……….If india is really involved then everyone must know ….

    (No one outside pakistan believes unless you prove it outside pakistan)…………

    Every one knew who was Ajmal Kasab…and from where he came…..but pakistan govt and army blatantly denied…………

    People like Hafeez Saeed ….are protected by pakistan establishment ……….what else is left………

    As far as Indian Involvment is concerned …..pakistan must prove it with the help of an independent agency……….LET THE WORLD KNOW ……Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed
    Mar 31, 2016 - 3:45PM

    @vaibhav india:
    Ajmal Kasab wasnt at least a serving military man though his whole story is much murky! Mr Yadev is and its more heinous of state to be involved in terror!Recommend

  • Bharti
    Mar 31, 2016 - 4:00PM

    @Last Man Alive:
    Nawaz Sharif knows the truth and the game being played by Rawalpindi.Let us see if he can limit COAS reach in limit with US help.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Mar 31, 2016 - 4:58PM

    I failed to understand the logic behind scholar Dr Khalid Zaheer saying that concept of marital rape did not exist, within religious parameters, and that in such a situation, the only possible option is for a “compromise” to be made.

    In any case, marital rape is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse i.e. a rape committed by one’s married partner using domestic violence and sexual abuse. It is also an offense punishable by law, in all civilized countries.Recommend

  • Shah(Berlin)
    Mar 31, 2016 - 5:30PM


    yes there is a game being played and it is known as “India hands full of innocent blood” and there is another game ” Indian government financing terrorism”….India has committed terrorism on Kashmir all its life….shame on you ppl supporting a terror state.Recommend

  • Sheikh Saa'di
    Mar 31, 2016 - 7:21PM

    Here is the MOST LIKELY scenario,

    A. Jadhav an exNaval Technical and Engineering officer had a legitimate business in Chabahar.

    B. That is logical as Chabahar is a port.

    C. Here he got honey-trapped by ISI and became ISI agent.

    D. He came under suspicion of either RAW or Irani counter intelligence, may be both.

    E. Jadhav had no option but to seek the protection of his masters and he ran to Pakistan as early as February,2016.

    F. This explains both (i) his apparent ecstasy and happiness at being caught by ISI and (ii) his vague confessional and no corroborative arrests etc.

    G. This also explains denial of Consular access.

    H. Most likely over the next 2 years Jadhav will be rehabilitated in the same neighbourhood as Doud Ibrahim, another Indian asset, with a fat reward and big house.

    Just wait and watch.Recommend

  • Mar 31, 2016 - 8:19PM

    State sponsoring terroism=non state actors terrorism- even if it is equal according to India, show some honesty .Atleast decensy requires truth .what was he(indian spy) doing in baloachistan(pakistan) in the 1st place.must be counting mountains over there…..And now requesting the whole world to see all sides of the picture .India dismantled pak in 1971 creating Bangladesh in the same way .N trying to repeat history in Balochistan yet again and sponsoring training for mqm ,baloch and taliban mercenaries.NOW being at receiving end from a decade ,it must end the world needs to c into iteven if.Pak nonstate terrorists do a rare act of violence in India which is horrible i must say does it gives right to india to dismantle pakistan
    Killing 650000 pakistanis giving bounties to
    taliban alqaida daish u name it and yes pak
    population is poor .these havenots r brainwashed by maulvi fanatics paid n sent to haevens directly by blastin theselves.viscious must c .decide urself .yes in covert or overt wars truth is 1st casualty but on ground its happening nakedly .Recommend

  • Apr 1, 2016 - 5:56AM

    Please Sit peacefully with your elders and dig a little deep and a little more about your ancestry. You may be pleasantly surprised that the same blood of the same mentality is flowing in your veins. Sir you must find the truth please,Recommend

  • Prada
    Apr 1, 2016 - 8:44AM

    Just take one look at how the international press reported on this so-called “spy” from India. They are reporting it as an Indian abducted from Iran. That just happens to be the truth to throw the spanner in Rouhani’s visit and also the peace talks with India.Recommend

More in Pakistan