The chill in the Indo-Pak relationship reflected at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday with a senior Indian diplomat responding with a curt 'namaskar' to an extended hand of a member of the Pakistani delegation.
Ahead of the hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the ICJ yesterday, Deepak Mittal, the head of the Pakistan division in the External Affairs Ministry, ignored the handshake gesture by Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan's DG for South Asia and SAARC, and offered a 'namaskar' instead.
Interestingly, Mittal, who was representing India in the retired Navy officer's case at the ICJ, shook hands with some of the Pakistan delegation members, including the Pakistani attorney general, the main lawyer in the case from the Pakistan government.
Last week also, frosty Indo-Pak relations were on full display when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was on the dais with his Pakistani counterpart at an event in Japan.
There is increasing strain in Indo-Pak ties in the aftermath of the Jadhav episode and the beheading of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistan Army.
Indo-Pakistan face off has reached the ICJ after 18 years. The last time it was Islamabad that had sought ICJ's intervention over the shooting down of its naval aircraft.
On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty handed down to Jadhav by a Pakistan military court, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
On May 9, the highest court in the UN gave Jadhav a lease of life.
India, in its appeal to the ICJ, had asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy. India has denied that he has any connection with the government.
India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and conducting a "farcical trial" for convicting Jadhav without a "shred of evidence". India demanded the immediate suspension of Jadhav's death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over.
However, Pakistan asserted that Jadhav's execution was not imminent, saying that a time frame of 150 days is provided for seeking clemency and in Jadhav's case even if it started on April 10, 2017, the date of his conviction, the period could extend to well beyond August, 2017.
After hearing the arguments of the two sides, the court said it will issue its order on India's request for provisional measures "as soon as possible".
Pakistan asserted that Jadhav's execution was not imminent, saying that a time frame of 150 days is provided for seeking clemency and in Jadhav's case even if it started on April 10, 2017, the date of his conviction, the period could extend to well beyond August, 2017.
(With PTI inputs)