Two weeks after Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, posted with 37 Rashtriya Rifles at Mendhar along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, was reported to have “inadvertently crossed over” the LoC, the Pakistan army has accepted that the 22-year-old is in their custody. Army sources close to The Indian Express said the first official confirmation of the whereabouts of Chavan was conveyed by officials of the Pakistan army’s military operations directorate to their Indian counterparts over the official hotline. Chavan crossed over to the Pakistani side with his rifle around noon on September 29, hours after DGMO Lt General Ranbir Singh had announced the surgical strikes by Indian special forces on terrorist launch pads across the LoC. The Indian Army had clarified at the time that Chavan’s disappearance was not connected to the strikes. Pakistan acknowledgement has now raised hopes that Chavan will be returned to India through existing mechanisms.
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