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All Attempts Being Made For Release Of Captured Indian Soldier, Says Rajnath Singh

Chandu Babulal Chauhan, a soldier serving with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistani side.

30/09/2016 3:26 PM IST | Updated 30/09/2016 4:07 PM IST
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Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Ranbir Singh arrives to attend an all-party meeting, following Indian army's surgical strikes along the LoC on Wednesday night, on September 29, 2016 in New Delhi, India.

All attempts are being made for the release of Chandu Babulal Chauhan, a soldier serving with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, who had "inadvertently crossed over" to the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, Home minister Rajnath Singh told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.

Singh said he will "take up the matter with Islamabad for his early release", according to the Indian Express. The Pakistani Dawn newspaper had earlier quoted Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi as saying that the soldier was captured "while trying to enter into Pakistani territory".

However, the Indian side has maintained that the 22-year-old soldier had inadvertently crossed over to the other side and Pakistan had been informed by the DGMO on the hotline.

The crossing over was not related to the surgical strikes, sources told PTI yesterday.

"Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms," they said. Dawn reported that the soldier has been shifted to an undisclosed location.

Singh reviewed the security situation in the country, particular along the border with Pakistan in the wake of the surgical strikes by the Army on terror launch pads in PoK.

During the hour-long meeting, the top security brass of the country briefed the Home Minister about the situation along the border and steps being taken to foil any Pakistani design to attack BSF posts besides safety of civilian population living in forward areas.

The Home Minister instructed the officials to ensure that the forces posted along the border remain on alert as situation along the Indo-Pak border continues to be volatile after the strike.

Those who attended the meeting include National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and top officials of security and intelligence agencies.

Orders have been issued to all its units along IB in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat to step up vigil and bolster their numbers at the posts by bringing in all personnel who are in the reserve.

BSF has also restricted all civilian movement along borders with Pakistan.The border guarding force has also been asked by the Home Ministry to provide manpower to local administration for helping in evacuating people from border villages to safer locations.

(With PTI inputs)

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