ISLAMABAD: A senior government official on Thursday acknowledged that the detained Indian soldier, who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) on the night India claimed to have carried out the so-called surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir, was an inadvertent crosser, but said no decision had yet been taken about handing him over to India.
“The Indian soldier, who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan, is still being investigated,” the official told Dawn after India’s state minister for defence, Subhash Bhamre, claimed that the Pakistan Army had committed to releasing the soldier, Chandu Chavan.
The senior official, however, denied that any commitment had been given to the Indian authorities about his repatriation. “No decision about handing him back to India has been taken yet, as investigations are still continuing,” he said.
Soldier crossed LoC on the night India claimed to have carried out ‘surgical strikes’
Since Chavan’s arrest last year, the Pakistan Army’s position has continued to change. The then military spokesman, Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, initially denied his capture, but a day later he said that verification and authentication procedures were being carried out in his case.
Our Correspondent in New Delhi adds: “They Pakistan have admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive, and that they will soon release him after inquiry, which is nearing completion,” Mr Bhamre had said after the launch of a Scorpene class submarine Khanderi, at the Mazagon Dock Limited in south Mumbai.
“We are trying at the level of DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) to secure his release. So far, the DGMO has spoken to their Pakistan counterpart at least 15 to 20 times,” the Press Trust of India quoted the minister as saying.
“The last time such talks took place was two days ago. They (Pakistan) said that the inquiry is getting over and Chandu Chavan will soon be released,” he said.
The news agency said that Chavan hailed from Mr Bhamre’s Lok Sabha constituency. “I have been in regular touch with his family,” the minister said.
Chavan had crossed the LoC on September 30 last year.
Courtesy : Dawn News