Pakistan hands over Indian soldier

Pakistan hands over Indian soldier

A soldier of the Indian Army, who had strayed across the Line of Control (LoC) almost four months ago, returned from Pakistan on Saturday.

Chandu Babulal Chavan, a soldier of the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, was received by Border Security Force personnel at the Attari-Wagah border. Chavan was later taken to an undisclosed location.

Islamabad claimed that the Indian soldier had ‘deserted his check post’ and crossed the LoC to Pakistan due to “severe grievances with his superiors and leadership”. The claim was made in a statement issued on Saturday by the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry, and later circulated by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

New Delhi dismissed the claim, reiterating that Chavan had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan on September 30. He strayed into the territory under the control of the neighbouring country just a day after the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the LoC, targeting launch pads used by militants to infiltrate into India and carry out terror attacks, it said.

Chavan, who hails from Dhule district in Maharashtra, was caught by the Pakistan Army, and his capture was reported by the media in that country. Pakistan Army officials also later confirmed that Chavan was in their custody and being interrogated.

India’s Director General of Military Operations was in touch with his Pakistani counterpart for the past four months to secure Chavan’s release. New Delhi also took up the issue with Islamabad through diplomatic channels and conveyed its concerns over the ‘safety and well-being’ of Chavan, seeking his early repatriation.

Islamabad, which did not initially respond positively to New Delhi’s call, changed its tone recently.
DH News Service

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