Pakistan said Saturday an Indian soldier, who had “deserted” a post and entered its part of Kashmir in September, had been handed over to the India authorities.
The Pakistani and Indian media had reported earlier that one Indian soldier had been missing when forces of the two countries involved in exchange of firing along the Line of Control( LoC), the de facto border between the nuclear neighbours.
“Pakistan has handed over an Indian soldier, Chandu Babulal Chohan, to Indian authorities this afternoon (21 January) at 1430 hrs through Wagah border. The Indian soldier deserted his check post in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and crossed the Line of Control over severe grievances with his superiors and leadership,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.
Indian defense officials had claimed that its forces carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan- administered Kashmir, but the claim had been rejected as false by the Pakistani military.
There has been escalation along the LoC since militants attacked an army center in Indian-controlled Kashmir in September which had killed 19 soldiers.
“Pakistan convinced the soldier to return to India and address his grievances through local grievance mechanisms,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
“The decision of the government of Pakistan to return the Indian soldier is based on humanitarian grounds and the commitment to ensure peace and tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary. Despite Indian belligerence, Pakistan believes in peaceful neighbourhood and rejects all actions aimed at undermining regional peace and security,” the statement further said.
Exchange of firing caused casualties on both sides. The two countries accuse each other of violation of the 2003 ceasefire. Enditem