NEW DELHI, Jan 19:
India is expecting safe return of soldier Chandu Chavan, who had inadvertently strayed across the border last year as Pakistan’s latest response on his release has been “quite good”, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre today said.
The minister, however, said it is difficult to tell the date.
“Chandu immediately next day after the surgical strike had inadvertently crossed the LoC to Pakistan side. Since then the Indian government, DGMO and MEA, are in contact with Pakistan through the right forum. Initially the response was not good, but the latest response was quite good.
“So, we are hopeful. Unfortunately, they have not committed any particular day. But, we are hopeful they were talking positively this time. So, we are expecting his release some other time. But then it is very difficult to say the date,” Bhamre told reporters.
The Union minister was addressing a press conference during his visit to the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Republic Day Camp at Delhi Cantonment.
On September 30, Chavan from 37 Rashtriya Rifles had inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control following which Pakistan had been informed by the DGMO on the hotline.
On January 12, after the launch of second Scorpene class submarine Khanderi, at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in south Mumbai, Bhamre had said, “They (Pakistan) have admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive, and that they will soon release him after inquiry, which is nearing completion.”
“We are trying at the level of DGMO (Director General of Military Operations), to secure his release. So far, the DGMO has spoken to their Pakistan counterpart at least 15 to 20 times,” he had said.
Incidentally, Chavan hails from Bhamre’s Lok Sabha constituency. (PTI)