HAGUE – As India and Pakistan were face-to-face at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague after 18 years, a ‘silent’ war of gestures prevailed throughout the hearings as India’s Ministry of External Affairs Official Dr Deepak Mittal refused to shake hands with Pakistan’s Mohammad Faisal’s and offered Namaste.

Ahead of the hearing today, while India’s lawyer Harish Salve shook hands politely with his Pakistani counterpart, Deepak Mittal seems to have chosen to take the legal battle to a very personal level and ignored the handshake by Mohammad Faisal, Pakistan’s DG for South Asia and SAARC,.

Interestingly, Dr Mittal did shake hands with other delegation members of Pakistan, including the Pakistani attorney general, the main lawyer in the case from the Pakistan government.

There is increasing strain in Indo-Pak ties in the aftermath of the Kulbhushan Jadhav episode.

On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty handed down to spy Jadhav by Pakistan, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The ICJ on Monday reserved its judgement on India’s appeal for a provisional stay on the execution of one of its citizens Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death by Pakistan.

The move came after Pakistan’s lawyer Khawar Quraishi presented his arguments on Monday. Among other things, Quraishi argued over the jurisdiction of the court to hear a case of this nature.