Consular Access and Vienna Conventions

India has been requesting Pakistan to grant it consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer who is imprisoned by Pakistan on charges of being a spy. What is consular access and on what grounds is Pakistan denying it?

Consular access refers to ability of a person to have access to consulate or embassy officials of his own country, while he is in a foreign host country. It has been signed into a global agreement under the following treaty.

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963

  • an international treaty that creates a framework for consular relations between independent countries.
  • consular access implies ability of the citizens of a country to have communication with the diplomats and officers of their country while held in a foreign location.
  • Members
    • 180 parties (as of March 2019)
    • image from wikipedia (green shows parties to the agreement, red shows non-signatories):

Pakistan denies India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that the convention is not applicable to spies, a charge which India denies.

More related information:

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961

  • An international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between countries, and to create an environment where diplomats can work freely with any coercion, threat or harassment by the host country.
  • It mentions privileges and immunities of diplomatic missions. For example, diplomats can’t usually be arrested for any crime in the host country.
  • It is the cornerstone of modern international relations.

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