Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in 2016 after allegedly entering the country from Iran, and was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death in 2017.

In this March 29, 2016 photo, journalists look at an image of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016, during a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan.
In this March 29, 2016 photo, journalists look at an image of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016, during a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP)

Pakistan said on Monday it would grant consular access to an Indian citizen convicted of espionage and on death row, weeks after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) called for a review of his sentence in a case that has stoked tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

"Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019," tweeted foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal late Sunday.

A senior Indian government official confirmed the meeting, and told AFP news agency that New Delhi hoped "Pakistan will ensure right atmosphere so that the meeting is free, fair, meaningful and effective in keeping with the letter and spirit of the ICJ orders."

'Spy' won't be freed

The decision comes weeks after the ICJ in July ordered Islamabad to provide the prisoner with consular access but rejected India's demand that Jadhav be freed.

Pakistan says the "working" Indian naval officer was arrested in March 2016 in its restive south-western province of Balochistan –– a region where Islamabad has long accused New Delhi of backing separatist and terrorist groups.

According to Indian officials, Jadhav "retired" from the navy in 2001 and was running a "logistics" business in the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Pakistani officials say he was arrested on March 3, 2016, after entering Pakistan from Saravan border in Iran using the Muslim name Hussein Mubarak Patel.

Officials accuse Jadhav of running a spy network for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (or RAW) intelligence agency from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

New Delhi claims he was taken captive in Iran before being moved to Pakistan and then forced to confess.

In his video confessions released by Pakistan, he said his job was to hold meetings with Baloch insurgents and help them with activities "of a criminal nature, leading to the killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens."

Kashmir tensions

The development comes amid soaring tensions between the arch-rivals in recent weeks after India's right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled the nominal autonomy of India-administered Kashmir which Kashmiris call "illegal annexation" of the disputed territory. 

In response Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched a diplomatic offensive against India and led mass protests lambasting Modi.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless skirmishes between the rivals.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies