After the Indian Army’s requests fell on deaf ears on the Pakistan side regarding the return of a soldier, who had “inadvertently” crossed into PoK, the Indian government will now take up the case directly with the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan.
Chandu Babulal Chavan, a 37 Rashtriya Rifles soldier, had crossed into PoK on September 29, the same day as the surgical strikes. The Indian government has said that there are no links between the strike and Chavan’s crossing over, as it was common and there are mechanisms in place to ensure soldiers’ return.
“We are worried they will torture him, and tell him lies that the army doesn’t care about him. That could drive him to take his own life,” Bhushan Chavan, the captured soldier’s brother and a soldier of Maratha Light Infantry, was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Indian Army DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) Ranbir Singh had gotten in touch with his Pakistani counterpart for Chavan’s return. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last month said that the “well-established mechanism through the DGMO” was being used to ensure his return. However, the Pakistani side has been unresponsive.
Now, the Ministry of External Affairs will be taking up the matter with the Pakistan government.
After initially denying that Chavan was in Pakistan, their army DGMO later said that he was being interrogated.
Apart from Chavan, the Indian government is also seeking access to another Indian called Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was reportedly arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 and has been called a spy by the Pakistan government.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been sour since the Uri attack and the subsequent surgical strikes. India has sought to isolate Pakistan on global forum for the terror attack on the army base in Kashmir.