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Chandu Chavan, Indian soldier who entered Pakistan, returns home

DHULE, MAHARASHTRA (JAN 21, 2017): Pakistani forces today returned Chandu Babulal Chavan, the Indian soldier who crossed the LoC after Indian claims of surgical strikes across the border in September last year.

According to ISPR DG Major General Asif Ghafoor, Chavan 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.

“The Indian soldier had deserted his post “due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders,” said Ghafoor in a Twitter post.

He also said that the soldier had “willfully crossed the LoC on September 29, 2016, and surrendered himself to the Pakistan Army”.

However, Indian army claimed that 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.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, said the decision was taken on “humanitarian” grounds.

“The decision of the government of Pakistan to return the Indian soldier is based on humanitarian grounds and the commitment to ensure peace and tranquillity at the LoC and the Working Boundary,” said a statement by the ministry.

The statement further said that Pakistan believes in peaceful neighbourhood and rejects all actions aimed at undermining regional peace and security.

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.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.