Balochistan Current Affairs - 2020

Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile Ghaznavi

Pakistan successfully conducted night training launch of hypersonic surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf-III Ghaznavi from Sonmiani test range in Balochistan.

About Hatf-III Ghaznavi Missile

It is “Scud” type short range surface-to-surface hypersonic ballistic missile. It is named after 11th century Muslim Turkic conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni. It has been designed and developed by Pakistan’s missile developer- National Development Complex. Its design is believed to be influenced from Chinese design, M-11 (NATO reporting name: CSS-7). It had entered in service with Pakistan Army in 2012.

Features: It has length of 9.64m, diameter of 0.99 m, launch weight of 5256 kg. It is powered by single stage solid fuel rocket motor. It is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads (both nuclear and conventional warheads) upto range of 290 km.

Kashmir Connection with this test

The launch of missile coincides with Pakistan’s scaled-up effort to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.  It is also seen as part of two-pronged effort to internationalise Kashmir issue at both military and diplomatic levels, and for impact, raise spectre of nuclear war between the two countries.

In protest to India’s decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India and also had expelled Indian High Commissioner. It also suspended its trade with India and stopped train and bus services. India has categorically notified international community that repealing of temporary provision of Article 370 was internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

India’s Shaurya missile: DRDO is developing similar missile to Pakistan Hatf-III Ghaznavi Missile for Indian. It is short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Shaurya. It is capable of carrying different types of warhead (including both nuclear and conventional) weighing around one-tonne at hypersonic speed up to 600km range.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: ICJ asks Pakistan to review conviction order

International Court of Justice (ICJ) has directed Pakistan to review conviction order of Kulbhushan Jadhav and, until then, put his death sentence on hold. ICJ also asked Islamabad to allow New Delhi consular access at earliest. This is a major diplomatic and legal victory for India in Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Key Highlights of Judgement

In a 15-1 decision, ICJ has asked Pakistan to review conviction, sentencing of Jadhav and provide him consular access. This effectively means is that death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan is put on hold until probably a civil court, where accused will have better representation, hears the case afresh.

Pak Violated Vienna Convention: ICJ upheld that Islamabad had violated Article 36 of Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963, by not informing India about Jadhav’s arrest immediately after Pakistan Army had taken him into custody.

ICJ found that India had been deprived of ‘right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation’, which meant that Pakistan had breached obligations incumbent upon it under Article 36, paragraph 1 (a) and (c), of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The provisions of 1963 Vienna Convention define a framework for consular relations between countries.

Kulbhushan Jadhav Case

Kulbhushan Jadhav (49), a retired Indin Navy officer, was allegedly arrested by Pakistani security forces on 3 March 2016, while India was informed on March 25.

Claims by Pakistan: Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan’s restive province of Balochistan (near the Pak-Afghan border of Chaman) in 2016. He is accused of terrorism, spying, and fomenting trouble in Balochistan. Later in 2017 he was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017. Pakistan has constantly accused India of supporting Baloch separatists is seeing Jadhav’s capture as proof of India’s involvement in unrest.

Claims by India: India acknowledged that Jadhav was an Indian national, who had been kidnapped by Pakistani agents from Iran, where he had gone on a business trip after his retirement from Indian Navy.

ICJ Approached

In May 2017, India approached the Hague-based ICJ, which restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of case.

ICJ verdict in Jadhav’s case comes nearly 5 months after a 15-member bench of ICJ, headed by Judge Yusuf, reserved its decision on 21 February 2019 post hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings in case lasted 2 years and 2 months.