Pakistan to return Indian soldier who crossed LoC; as a goodwill gesture
- TEAM PT
Pakistan to return Indian soldier who crossed LoC; as a goodwill gesture



Pakistan said on Saturday an Indian soldier who crossed the Line of Control last year "has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border”.

Chauhan had crossed over in September last year as tensions rose following a cross-border raid that India said it carried out against militants.
 
The news of the 22-year-old soldier from Maharashtra being in Pakistani captivity had come just hours after India announced that in surgical strikes, troops had attacked seven terror launch pads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Chandu Babulal Chauhan of the Rashtriya Rifles, did not take part in the surgical strikes, the army had said, adding in a statement that he had "inadvertently crossed the Line of Control from the army post where he was on duty."
 
 

An Indian Army official had earlier said such incidents of people including civilians crossing the frontier by mistake have happened in the past from both sides and those who strayed are returned.
 
Pakistan Army, however, claimed that he deserted to that country following maltreatment of the commanders. It also claimed that Chandu was captured on the day of the surgical strikes by India.
 
"Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chauhan, an Indian Army soldier, deserted his post at LoC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders. He willfully crossed LoC on 29 September, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army," Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press release.

ISPR further said, "As a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC and WB, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chauhan has been convinced to return to his own country."
 
Chandu will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wagha Border on 'humanitarian grounds'.

Earlier, Union minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre had expressed hope on Thursday that Chandu Chavan would return home safely.

"The very next day after the surgical strikes, Chandu had inadvertently crossed the LoC to Pakistani side. The government, the DGMO and MEA are in contact with Pakistan since then through proper channel. Initial response from Pakistan was not positive but the latest response inspires hope," Bhamre had said.
 
With Chandu's release, this is the second positive development from Pakistan's side. Recently, on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's birthday which falls on December 25, at least 220 Indian fishermen were released by the Pak army. 






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