Attari: Pakistan today handed over to India its soldier who had inadvertently crossed the LoC hours after the army’s surgical strike in September last year.
Chandu Babulal Chavan, 22, returned through the land transit route of Attari-Wagah border.
The BSF handed him over to the Army which took him to an undisclosed location.
Chavan, posted with 37 Rashtriya Rifles, had mistakenly crossed the boundary in Kashmir hours after India’s surgical strikes on terrorist bases across the LoC.
Chavan’s brother Bhushan Chavan, who is also a soldier, said he is thankful to the army for its effort.
“I am thankful to DGMO and army for the efforts they have made. I am never going to forget this. I am also a soldier and will continue to do my duty with full honesty till my last breath,” he said.
“I am grateful to the villagers and everybody who prayed for not just my brother but for a soldier of this country,” Bhushan said.
Chavan belongs to Borvihir village in Dhule district of Maharashtra. His grandmother had died of shock following the news of his capture by Pakistani troops.
Chavan will be first medically examined by the team of army doctors, said an official posted at Attari.
Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said his ministry and the DGMO had been constantly trying their level best to secure the release of the jawan “who was in Pakistan’s custody after he inadvertently crossed the LOC”.
He said the soldier will be able to return home after the army completes due procedure.
“The External Affairs Ministry was also involved. All efforts were made to secure the release of the soldier and the result is that he has been released today,” the Minister said.
“Our DGMO was in touch with his Pakistani counterpart. Last week we were told that he will be released soon,” he said.
Pakistani army issued a statement early in the day announcing the handing over of the Indian soldier. It said that the soldier had “deserted” his post across the LoC due to “grievances against his commanders” and “has been convinced to return home”.
“Pak Army returning Indian sldr to India as goodwill,” Pakistan’s Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.
In a separate statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said, “The decision of the government of Pakistan to return the Indian soldier is based on humanitarian grounds and the commitment to ensure peace and tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary.
“Despite Indian belligerence, Pakistan believes in peaceful neighbourhood and rejects all actions aimed at undermining regional peace and security.”