India says Chandu Chavan had 'inadvertently' strayed to the other side, while Pakistan claims that the soldier had wilfully crossed over. Photograph: (Getty)
India's junior federal defence minister said Pakistan admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive, and that they will release him after an inquiry
Pakistan military authorities have committed to release the Indian soldier Chandu Chavan, who inadvertently strayed across the border last year, junior federal minister for defence Subhash Bhamre said today.
"They (Pakistan) have admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive, and that they will soon release him after inquiry, which is nearing completion," Bhamre said after the launch of second Scorpene class submarine Khanderi, at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in south Mumbai.
"We are trying at the level of DGMO (Director General of Military Operations), to secure his release. So far, the DGMO has spoken to its Pakistan counterpart at least 15 to 20 times," the minister said.
"The last time such talks took place was two days ago. They (Pakistan) said that the inquiry is getting over and Chandu Chavan will soon be released," he said.
Incidentally, Chavan hails from Bhamre's Lok Sabha constituency.
"I have been in regular touch with his family," the minister said.
On September 30 last year, Chavan had inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control (LoC).
Asked about the claims by a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan through social media posts that poor quality food was being served to soldiers on the LoC, Bhamre said an inquiry has been ordered.
He said that federal home minister Rajnath Singh has made a detailed statement on the issue.
The BSF had yesterday submitted a report to the home ministry on the allegations of a jawan, stating that the 'daal' (lentil curry) shown in his video was uncanned from tinned food ration and the 'parantha' was cooked in the unit mess as per procedures followed at high-altitude locations.
BSF Director General K K Sharma had submitted the interim report to the federal home ministry and informed home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi that the western front commander of the force along with a dietician had been rushed to the border post in Jammu and Kashmir where the jawan, Tej Bahadur Yadav was posted, for a detailed inquiry.
Federal ministerof state (home) Kiren Rijiju had also said that the government has sent "experts and dieticians to each and every post of the border to ensure that the food quality of the jawans is as per the norms."
In reply to another query, Bhamre said the Navy had ordered a Board of Inquiry (BoI) on allegations against a senior Navy doctor after he was accused by a junior woman of molestation, including once at the residence of a senior officer.
"We will get the BoI report soon," the minister said.