Attempts being made to free Indian soldier from ‘Pak captivity’: Rajnath
Home minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday attempts were being made to free an Indian soldier in “Pakistan’s captivity” after he strayed across the Line of Control on Thursday.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have risen following a “surgical strike” the army said it carried out against “terror launchpads” across the de-facto border.
“The government has taken note of the media reports that say our soldier is in Pakistan captivity… India will take up the matter with Pakistan,” television channels reported Singh as saying.
The soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control, an source earlier said. “Such inadvertent crossing by soldiers and civilians are not unusual on either side… They are returned through existing mechanisms,” he added.
Pakistan was informed about the incident by the director general of military operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh.
Two officials based in Pakistan’s Chhamb’s sector told Reuters the Indian soldier with weapons was captured at 1.30pm local time on Thursday.
India earlier said it carried out “surgical strikes” across the Line of Control, taking out several temporary shelters militants were preparing to use to cross over into the country.
The strikes were India’s first direct military response to the attack on the Uri army base earlier this month that killed 18 Indian soldiers and was blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
The cross-border action came days after New Delhi reviewed its 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan and pulled out of the regional Saarc Summit in Islamabad as part of a wider diplomatic offensive to isolate its neighbour.
Islamabad promptly denied the claim and said it would respond strongly were India to try a military raid on its soil.
Pakistan’s military claimed it killed eight Indian soldiers while retaliating to India’s firing at the first line of defence at the LoC at Tatta Pani, according to a Dawn report.
Citing security sources, Dawn said the killings occurred when the Indian Army opened fire across the border, killing two Pakistani soldiers.
The army source, however, denied reports of the killing of Indian soldiers at the LoC. “…the report is completely false and baseless,” he said.
Singh on Friday held separate meetings with the chiefs of important central security forces including the National Security Guard (NSG) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
According to an official source, these were routine meetings but were significant in the wake of the surgical strikes. Singh is also likely to interact with top officials of other forces like Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Border Security Force.
Singh will also brief Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a review meeting on the situation at the LoC and the international border with Pakistan, a source said.
The Prime Minister will chair a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) later in the day.
With agency inputs
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