Pakistan hands over soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan who crossed over LoC last year

Pakistan on Saturday in a "goodwill gesture" returned Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan, who inadvertently crossed the LoC in September.

Chandu Babulal Chavan, 22, returned through the land transit route of Attari-Wagah border. The Border Security Force handed him over to the Indian Army which took him to an undisclosed location, PTI reported.

 Pakistan hands over soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan who crossed over LoC last year

Chandu Babulal Chavan (first from left) with his family. Image courtesy: Bhushan Chavan

According to PTI, 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.

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.

However, according to a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan army's media wing, Sepoy Chavan, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir had "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 statement read.

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 Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds."

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 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.

With agency inputs

Updated Date: Jan 21, 2017 18:59:35 IST