A Pakistani military court has handed down death sentence to an Indian man for his alleged involvement in espionage and sabotage activities.
The man, identified as Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav, who also goes by the alias Hussein Mubarak Patel, was found guilty by the court and sentenced to death.
A Pakistani military statement said on Monday that the army chief had confirmed the capital punishment.
"Today, (Army Chief) Gen. Qamer Javed Bajwa has confirmed his death sentence,” the statement read, without stating when the execution would take place.
Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in the southwestern province of Balochistan on charges of being an Indian spy and fueling unrest across the troubled province. Pakistani officials claim that Jadhav has confessed to being a spy for the Indian intelligence,
India and Pakistan routinely accuse each other of sending spies into their countries, and it is not uncommon for either nation to expel diplomats accused of espionage. However, death sentences have rarely been issued in such cases in recent years.
In 2013, Sarabjit Singh, an Indian national sentenced to death for spying in Pakistan, was killed in jail after being attacked by fellow inmates. Singh had been on death row for 16 years.
In 1999, another Indian man, Sheikh Shamim, was hanged in a Pakistani jail almost ten years after he was caught "red-handed" near the border and detained on charges of spying.
India denounces "premeditated murder"
In reaction to Pakistan's announcement, New Delhi warned Islamabad on Monday that any move to execute the Indian national would be "premeditated murder."
India's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit to protest Jadhav's death penalty handed down by a court, which was closed to the public.
In a letter issued to Basit, the Foreign Ministry said that India's government had repeatedly sought consular access to Jadhav, which was not permitted.
"If this sentence against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder," said the letter.
Indian media have described Jadhav as a former naval officer, calling the proceedings against him "farcical."
The developments come as cross-frontier shelling between the two sides has intensified along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed region of Kashmir, leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the disputed frontier.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947.