Pakistan to return Indian soldier in ‘goodwill gesture’

Islamabad, Jan 21 (IANS) Pakistan on Saturday said it was returning in a “goodwill gesture” Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan, who inadvertently crossed the LoC in September last year.

According to an ISPR statement, Sepoy Chavan, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, “deserted his post at the LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders”.

“He wilfully crossed LOC on September 29, 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army,” the Pakistan Army’s media wing said.

It said that “as a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and WB (International Border, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wahga Border on humanitarian grounds.”

Chavan, 22, was posted with 37 Rashtriya Rifles at Mendhar, Jammu and Kashmir and on September 29, just hours after the Indian Army’s surgical strikes had “inadvertently crossed LoC” to the Pakistan side.

His grandmother suffered a cardiac arrest and died after the family was informed that he was captured by the Pakistan Army.

India had been in regular touch with Pakistan for the release of Chavan.

–IANS

rn/in

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