India Cancels Maritime Talks With Pakistan

India has called off maritime security dialogue with Pakistan, scheduled for early next week, amid tensions over death sentence being awarded to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

A delegation led by Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency (MSA) was to visit New Delhi April 16-19 to discuss issues related to fishermen and search and rescue operations.

News agency Press Trust of India quoted its sources in the Coast Guard as saying the Ministry of Defence has not given clearance for the delegation's visit.

The development comes amid tension between the two countries over Mr Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, being awarded death sentence by a Pakistani military court.

The death sentence to Mr Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by army chief General Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial found him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" in Pakistan.

Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Mr Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. It also claimed that he was "a serving officer in the Indian Navy."

The Pakistan Army had also released a "confessional video" of Mr Jadhav after his arrest. However, India denied Pakistan's contention and maintained that Mr Jadhav was kidnapped by the Pakistan authorities.

New Delhi had yesterday criticised the Islamabad for not sharing Mr Jadhav's location and details of his condition and said that the international norm to provide consular access was not followed. India and Pakistan have a bilateral agreement on consular access.

Meanwhile, there was no official confirmation on reports of India asking its high commission in Pakistan to go slow on visas to Pakistan nationals in wake of the development.

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