While Kashmir continues to remain a point of contention in the diplomatic standoff between the two neighbors, accusations of fomenting terrorism have also strained relations.
On Monday, however, a small concession to diplomacy was made when Pakistan allowed the wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian accused of espionage, to visit the imprisoned man in Islamabad for the first time.
Pakistan sentenced Mr. Jadhav to death in April, a year after his 2016 arrest on charges of espionage and terrorism. Pakistani officials called the arrest a major counterintelligence victory and claimed that Mr. Jadhav had been working for India’s spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.
India maintains that Mr. Jadhav was a retired naval officer, who was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agents while on a business trip to Iran.
The International Court of Justice temporarily stayed Mr. Jadhav’s execution.
Mr. Jadhav’s family members flew from India for the brief reunion at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and declined to talk to the news media. Pakistan released pictures of Mr. Jadhav, clad in a blue suit, sitting behind a glass partition as he spoke with his mother and wife.
Mohammad Faisal, the spokesman for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the family visit was granted on humanitarian grounds, adding that Pakistan considered Mr. Jadhav “the face of Indian terrorism.”
“The fact that despite simmering tensions, the two sides successfully worked out details of the meeting is a positive development,” noted a Tuesday editorial in The Express Tribune, a Karachi newspaper, adding that the Pakistani move should “serve as a template for India to follow.”
But deep skepticism continues to exist within Pakistan — and the killing of three Pakistani soldiers just hours after Mr. Jadhav’s meeting added to that sentiment.
“To be fair, Pakistan made a good-will gesture which was not reciprocated at the strategic level,” said Sherry Rehman, a prominent politician and former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.
“The martyrdom of three Pakistani soldiers sends a very disappointing message from Delhi, not that the Modi government has ever responded rationally to Pakistan’s overtures for talks,” Ms. Rehman said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
“This is all quite unfortunate for the people of South Asia who remain hostage to this impasse, as space for peace shrinks when hostility is normalized as policy by Modi’s government,” Ms. Rehman said.