The Indian Army on Thursday said that one of its soldiers from the 37 Rashtriya Rifles with a weapon had “inadvertently crossed over” to the other side of Line of Control and termed the Pakistani media reports that eight of its soldiers had been killed as “completely false and baseless”.
An Army release issued by the Defence Ministry said Pakistan had been informed on the hotline by the Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh about the soldier crossing over the Line of Control.
It said that such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians was not unusual on either side and they are are returned through existing mechanisms.
“One soldier from 37 RR with weapon has inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control. Pakistan has been informed by the DGMO on the hotline. Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that the release of the Indian soldier was being taken up with Islamabad and all efforts are being made to ensure his early release. Singh said the government has taken note of the reports which stated that an Indian soldier is in Pakistan’s captivity.
Indian Army sources had on Thursday said that that the 22-year-old soldier was not participating in the surgical strike but “inadvertently” strayed into Pakistani territory while on duty at an Army post, according to a report in NDTV.
However, according to a report in The Indian Express, diplomatic sources from Pakistan have said that Chandu Babulal Chauhan had been captured by Pakistani troops at Jhandroot, west of Mankote, and was now being kept at the military headquarters in Nikayal.
Apart from clarifying that Chauhan’s crossing the border was not related to the surgical strike, the army press release also asserted that Pakistani media reports claiming eight casualties on the Indian side were false and baseless.
“As regard report of killing of eight Indian Army personnel reported in sections of Pakistan media, the report is completely false and baseless,” the release added.
The clarification came as speculations of Indian casualties were ratcheted up after Dawn, a Pakistani news website, quoted Pakistani security sources as saying that Pakistan military had said it had captured an Indian soldier and killed eight others. Dawn later withdrew the story, replacing it with another that did not specify the number of Indian soldiers killed.
Dawn identified the soldier who crossed over as Chandu Babulal Chauhan, 22, from Maharashtra. Dawn said he had been shifted to an undisclosed location.
It said the soldier was caught after the Indian military fired across the Line of Control (LoC).
Dawn said the bodies of the dead Indian soldiers lay unattended at the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The Indian Army however strictly maintained that no Indian soldier has died in the strike, asserting that the army personnel who crossed over to PoK came back with “not one scratch,” reported NDTV.
India on Thursday said that it had carried out “surgical strikes” on terrorist launch pads across the LoC, inflicting massive casualties. Pakistan has denied the surgical strikes ever took place terming the strike as “unprovoked firing” across LoC. A Pakistan army statement said “an exchange of fire between Pakistani and Indian LoC troops began at 2:30am and continued till 8 am in the Bhimber, Hotspring, Kel and Lipa sectors” and added that “Pakistani troops befittingly responded to Indian unprovoked firing on the LoC,” according to a report in The Economic Times.