The recent spat between Pakistan and India over the latter’s spy Khulbushan Yadav refuses to die down, and not without reason. India is well within its right to protest the potential execution of one of its citizens, but the indignation on display must also be backed by facts, of which India has failed to provide any. The recent press conference of the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, provided ample ‘proofs’ of Yadav’s association with a broad spy network – none of which the Indian government has refuted so far. Now that the charge sheet has been released, India must offer up answers, if it has any contrary to the evidence on display.

The Indian government has failed to answer the all-important question of why Yadav was found with original two passports with two names. It has failed to address that the spy was recovered from Balochistan and have neglected to address the many (serious) charges against their operative.

As far as Pakistan and India are concerned, the charges of espionage and tit-for-tat accusations against one another are only the surface level of the much bigger game being played. The recent video, shared by former Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, which depicts a young man tied to a moving jeep as a human shield against stone pelting protesters is a grim reminder of what is at stake in this long-standing conflict. Many Indians have come out and spoken against the injustices, and the injection of youth into the movement at this point tells us this is organic, and will not die down easy. As both countries bicker and try every dirty trick in the book to destabilise the other, the people of Kashmir continue to pay the price.

While the charges of espionage against one another are nothing new, the reason the issue of Yadav has caught the collective attention of both nations is because it has become public. Spies have been operating for both sides since the beginning, and this is only likely to continue, unless there is a move towards resolving the one issue that makes both countries fail to see eye to eye. Unless India is made to come to the negotiation table for a settlement to the problem of Kashmir, both countries will remain focused in trivialities of who spied for whom, while the youth of Kashmir keeps getting trampled by Indian security forces.