Pakistan to hand over captured Indian soldier today

NEW DELHI: Pakistani authorities Thursday assured their Indian counterparts that an Indian soldier, who was captured in their territory after being swept away by a strong current of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir, will be handed back today (Friday).

The Indian media quoting BSF sources said a company commander level flag meeting was held in the Nikowal post area in Jammu’s Sunderbani sector between India’s Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers who said Indian soldier Satyasheel Yadav (30) would return today (Friday). “The stipulated time of handover of our trooper has been set at 3 pm. Some formalities will be done by the Rangers and then they would hand over Yadav back to us,” the sources were quoted as saying.

Officials said they were informed that Yadav was in good condition and he is understood to have gone through some rounds of questioning by Pak intelligence and security sleuths. Yadav was out on a patrol with three other personnel in the Paragwal-Khour sub-sector of general area Akhnoor when the boat they were travelling in developed a problem Wednesday.

Officials said when the patrol squad was negotiating a narrow bend in the river in this sector, the engine of the motorboat failed.

A rescue boat later sent to fetch the BSF men was taken by three personnel but Yadav was swept in the strong current as the rope holding him snapped and he subsequently landed 400 metres away in the Sialkot sector of Pakistan where he was picked up by the villagers initially and then handed over to the Rangers, they said.

BSF Director General D K Pathak had earlier Thursday said that the force was making all efforts to secure its man. “We have sent a request note through our Wagah frontier and have also requested for a commandant level flag meeting. We are making all efforts to secure our trooper and I hope that he will sent back to us very soon,” Pathak had said.

In Lahore, a senior Rangers official said, “We have decided to free the Indian soldier. We have completed his interrogation. He will be handed over to the BSF in the presence of the media after a flag meeting with BSF in Sialkot on Friday morning.”INP

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