Under a bilateral arrangement, soldiers who inadvertently cross the LoC are handed over to their side.
Mumbai: Indian army soldier Chandu Chavan (22) who inadvertently strayed across the border September last year will soon be released, said Union minister of state for defence, Subhash Bhamre, on Thursday.
Mr Bhamre was talking at the launch of INS Khanderi held at the Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) here in the city. He said that Pakistani authorities had confirmed that Mr Chavan was alive and the relevant authorities were in touch with the Pakistani counterparts to ensure that Mr Chavan was released soon. The Pakistani army had earlier informed its Indian counterpart that it is not aware of Mr Chavan’s whereabouts.
Under a bilateral arrangement, soldiers who inadvertently cross the LoC are handed over to their side. Mr Bhamre said, "They (Pakistan) have admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive, and that they will soon release him after inquiry, which is nearing completion. 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," Mr Bhamre said. He added that the last talks took place two days ago.
Mr Chavan, a sepoy posted with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles at Mendhar along the LoC, was on September 29 allegedly captured by Pakistan army authorities after he "inadvertently crossed over". Mr Chavan was carrying a weapon and a release by the Defence Ministry stated that relevant authorities had been contacted to ensure his release. The press statement said: "Islamabad was informed about the soldier's movement on the hotline by India's Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh". Incidentally, Mr Chavan had mistakenly crossed the de-factor border in Kashmir only hours after India's surgical strikes on terrorist bases across the LoC.