Pakistan said on Saturday an Indian soldier who crossed the Line of Control last year “has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border”.
Chohan had crossed over in September last year as tensions rose following a cross-border raid that India said it carried out against militants.
An Indian Army official had earlier said such incidents of people including civilians crossing the frontier by mistake have happened in the past from both sides and those who strayed are returned.
“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,” Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press release.
A source said Chohan was likely to be handed over to India by Saturday evening.
Union minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre said recently Pakistan had committed it would release the Indian soldier.
A defence official said the 22-year-old soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles had inadvertently crossed the de-factor border in Kashmir hours after India’s surgical strikes on terrorist bases across the LoC. Chohan belongs to Borvihir village in Dhule district of Maharashtra.
The Pakistan Army had earlier informed its Indian counterpart that it is not aware of Chavan’s whereabouts. Under a bilateral arrangement, soldiers who inadvertently cross the LoC are handed over to their side.
Chohan’s family has been under stress since the news of his disappearance broke on September 29 last year — his grandmother died of a heart attack two days later. Chohan’s parents died when he was two years old and his grandmother Lilabai took care of her two grandsons.