In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Mr Malik said that India has never put the case of Captain Saurabh Kalia's torture on bilateral ties and that yesterday was the first time India raised this case officially. "I only said circumstances of his death are disputed, I am asking for more information... I feel the pain of Captain Kalia's father; I will definitely look into the matter," he said. Mr Malik also said that why would the Pakistani army return the body of Captain Kalia if they had tortured him.
Mr Malik, who is on a three day official visit to India, on landing in New Delhi yesterday, had said, "I have not examined this case. I will be very happy to see the father of the soldier and listen to what exactly happened. When the war is going on, on the border we don't exactly know what happened - whether he was killed by a Pakistani bullet of it was the weather."
Captain Kalia's case was raised by India in talks with visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik yesterday. India has asked Pakistan to take action against those responsible for torturing the officer to death.
Yesterday the Supreme Court had asked the government to explain whether it will take the case of Captain Kalia's torture to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
Captain Kalia of the 4 Jat Regiment was the first Indian Army officer to observe and report large-scale intrusion by the Pakistani Army into the Indian side of the Line of Control in the Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
When their bodies were handed over to India, the autopsy reports revealed extreme torture including cigarette burns, ear drums pierced with hot iron rods and amputated limbs.
The young soldier's father, NK Kalia, says that though Pakistan's handling of his son violates the international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, the Indian government has been apathetic in not raising the case with Pakistan. He wants the Indian government to raise the matter with the ICJ.
The judges hearing his petition observed, "We fully share your agony. But what is the role of the court? Can we direct India to take up the case with International Court of Justice?" They added, "This is an important issue. If the government wants, it can take up the issue with the International Court of Justice and there's no need for our interference." The court has given the government 10 weeks to reply to Mr Kalia's petition.
Mr Kalia's father said that he had first approached the Indian Defence Ministry for help, which said his son's case had been referred to the Prime Minister's Office, which in turn said the matter was being studied by the External Affairs Ministry.
The government's seeming reluctance to raise the matter with the ICJ could be rooted in the fact that India had sought changes in the arbitration rules of the court, insisting that it would only hear a case if all countries or parties involved in a dispute agreed to approach it.