India media is trumpeting the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling on RAW Hybrid War agent Kulbhushan Jadhav as a victory after the globalist body demanded that Pakistan review and reconsider his conviction and sentence, but looking beyond the Bollywood headlines at both the smaller details and the bigger picture, it becomes clear that it’s actually Islamabad that came out on top instead.
The International Court of Justice (IJC) issued its decision on Kalbhushan Jadhav, the RAW Hybrid War agent who was captured by Pakistan in 2016 and sentenced to death the year after. The globalist body’s rulings are binding, but nevertheless unenforceable, making them more a matter of normative legitimacy than anything else. It’s for this reason why Indian media trumpeted the ICJ’s demand that Pakistan review and reconsider his conviction and sentence as a supposed victory, but looking beyond the Bollywood headlines at both the smaller details and the bigger picture, it becomes clear that it’s actually Islamabad that came out on top instead.
The court did indeed find that Pakistan hadn’t informed Jadhav of his rights, didn’t notify India of his detention “without delay”, and also didn’t provide him consular access, disagreeing with Islamabad’s claims that he wasn’t entitled to any of them because he was at that time (prior to his publicized confession and conviction) a suspected spy whose case was being decided by a military court (which is the standard procedure in most countries across the world whenever a foreign national is accused of espionage). It didn’t, however, acquit him, demand that he be repatriated, or recommend against the death penalty, representing a major defeat for India.
Furthermore, the very fact that Jadhav’s case was brought to the ICJ in the first place was a serious blow to its soft power, even though India has yet to realize this unprecedented self-inflicted wound to its international reputation. The country must have been under the mistaken impression that Pakistan’s unfairly dismal reputation abroad would be further damaged in a significant way by the court’s possible decision against it, never stopping to think that giving its enemy the global podium to prove their Hybrid War agent’s crimes in Balochistan would inevitably harm their own previously positive reputation much more.
In hindsight, it would have been much better if India just let Pakistan execute Jadhav and that be the end of the entire affair, but instead Modi panicked because he was under severe pressure from ultra-jingoist Hindutva hardliners to do something in support of their captured spy. The end result is that New Delhi was denied the normative legitimacy that it was seeking from what it expected would be the court’s unenforceable decision to have Islamabad acquit and repatriate him, having to simply settle for it recommending consular access to him after its risky gamble failed and ruined its international reputation by forever associating it with Hybrid War.
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