Pakistani court sentences accused Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav to death

LAHORE: A Pakistani military court sentenced an Indian accused of espionage to death on Monday, potentially ratcheting up tension between the two nuclear-armed states.

Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in the turbulent province of Baluchistan, which has seen a long-running conflict between Pakistani security forces and a militant separatist movement.

The Pakistani military said in a statement he had confessed to being tasked by India's intelligence service with planning, coordinating and organising espionage and sabotage activities in Baluchistan "aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan".

The sentence was passed by a Field General Court Martial and confirmed by the powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The military did not announce any date for the execution.

There was no immediate comment from the Indian government.

Pakistan accuses India of helping the separatist movement in Baluchistan, a charge denied by India. In its turn, the government in New Delhi says Pakistan aids separatist fighters in Kashmir, part of India's only Muslim-majority state, which Pakistan also claims.

Last September, tension between the neighbours escalated after gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Pakistan denies backing militants saying it only offers political support to the Muslim people of Indian-controlled Kashmir.