On October 13, Pakistan confirmed that Indian soldier Chandu Babulal Chavan was in their captivity. Chavan was captured after he inadvertently crossed the LoC into PoK on September 29. It was the same day when Indian Army’s special forces conducted the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in PoK.
Now the Indian government has said that it will pursue the release of the soldier through diplomatic channels.
Chavan’s release had till now been sought only through the Indian Army DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) Ranbir Singh at his office’s level.
A diplomatic intervention means that the Indian foreign ministry will take up the matter at the highest level.
The decision to take the matter at the diplomatic level was taken after Pakistan constantly ignored the DGMO’s request. The Pakistani army’s response goes against the existing mechanisms for the release of captured civilians and soldiers who inadvertently cross the LoC.
Chavan is a sepoy with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles. He was reported missing just hours after Indian soldiers returned from their successful surgical strike. He was posted in the Mendhar sector in J&K.
The fallout of the strike led to further deterioration of relations between India and Pakistan complicating the return of Chavan.
Born in 1994 in Jamner, Maharashtra, Chavan was raised by his grandparents following the death of his father in 1997 and mother in 2000. He has one older brother, who is also in the army, and a sister who has been married off.
His grandmother could not bear the news of his capture and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on the very day.
His family fears that Chavan will be tortured by Pakistani soldiers.
While the MEA will take up this matter with its Pakistani counterpart, it is worth noting that Pakistan has not yet responded to India’s request of consular access to former Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was allegedly arrested from Balochistan in March on charges of spying.