TEHRAN: Iran’s official IRNA news agency is reporting that the country’s Revolutionary Guards will begin a ground forces drill near the shared border with Balochistan on Tuesday.
The Sunday report quotes the chief of IRGC’s ground forces, Mohammad Khakpour, as saying the three-day exercise will be carried out in four provinces and it will use and test the IRGC’s latest equipment ─ including the guards’ new helicopter unit.
The drills come over two weeks after the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was announced, an incident which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied discussing with Pakistani leadership ─ contrary to a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations.
Jadhav, who is suspected of having entered Balochistan through Iran, was arrested during a raid in Chaman, claim military officials.
Tehran later slammed Pakistani media for circulating ‘undignified rumours’ regarding the Iranian reaction to Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent Jadhav’s arrest ─ without specifying what rumours it was referring to.
Pakistan has asked Iran to investigate and share details of Jadhav’s activities in Iran, along with those of his colleague, who has been identified as RAW Sub Inspector Rakesh alias Rizwan.
Law enforcement agencies announced the arrest of Jadhav on March 25, saying he had been picked up during an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan’s Chaman area.
The Indian Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed the arrested man was a former Indian Navy officer, but the Pakistani government claimed to have recovered travel documents and multiple fake identities of Jadhav, establishing him as an Indian spy who entered into Balochistan through Iran — holding a valid Iranian visa.
Jadhav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed that he had purchased boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports in a terrorist plot. The official had said the ‘RAW agent’ is believed to be expert at Naval fighting techniques.
In a confessional video aired by Bajwa and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed at a joint press conference, Jadhav said: “I am still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and will be due for retirement in 2022.”
“By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran. As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004 and, having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end.”
Since then, he said he has been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan “at the behest of RAW”, adding that he had played a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
“I am basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan,” he said, “especially in the Baloch student organisation”. His purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out “activities with their collaboration”, he explained.
“These activities have been of anti-national or terrorist nature,” he said, as they resulted in the “killing or maiming of Pakistani citizens”.