‘Overwhelmed’ brother of Indian soldier Chandu Chavan thanks Centre for his return

Dhule (Maharashtra) [India], Jan. 21 : Bhushan Chavan, the brother of Indian soldier Chandu Chavan, who had inadvertently crossed Line of Control (LoC), expressed gratitude at the Indian Army for taking strident efforts in bringing back his brother.

"I am also a soldier and I will forever remain grateful to the army for this. I am also grateful to the villagers who supported me and my brother. Since I am overwhelmed with happiness, I am unable to express my feelings," Bhushan told ANI. He further expressed his gratefulness to the Centre, especially MoS Defence Subhash Bhamre for keeping track of the development and ensuring the soldier returned.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani troops handed over Chandu to the Indian army at Wagah Border 3 p.m., after which he was debriefed and a special medical check-up was carried out.

Pakistan's Military's media wing, ISPR said in a statement, "As a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity along LOC and WB, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah Border on humanitarian grounds." Earlier today, the Pakistan Government said they have handed over Chandu, to Indian authorities today through the Wagah border, saying 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 tranquility at the LoC and the Working Boundary," said a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan.

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

The soldier had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control on 30 September and was captured by Pakistani troops, a day after the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on terror launchpads across the Line of Control (LoC).

The Indian Army has said that the soldier, who belongs to the Rashtriya Rifles, was not involved in the surgical strike.

Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians.

It applies from the moment a prisoner is captured until he or she is released/repatriated. One of the main provisions of the convention makes it illegal to torture prisoners and states that a prisoner can only be required to give their name, date of birth, rank and service number if applicable The Indian Army had said at the time that the soldier, who belongs to the Rashtriya Rifles, was not involved in the surgical strike .

Source: ANI