Four months after inadvertently crossing over to Pakistan near the Line of Control, Pakistan on Satuday released Indian sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan who had been captured by Pakistani Rangers soon after the surgical strikes in September last year. 

Terming the decision as a "goodwill gesture", the announcement was made by spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, Major General Asif Ghafoor on Twitter.

Contrary to India's position that the soldier had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan, Ghafoor said the soldier had "deserted his post at LOC due to his grievances of maltreatment against his commanders and "willfully crossed LOC on 29 September 2016 and surrendered himself to Pakistan Army."

"As a gesture of goodwill and in continuation of our efforts to maintain peace and tranquility along LOC and WB, Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chohan has been convinced to return to his own country and will be handed over to Indian authorities at Wahga Border on humanitarian grounds," the Pakistan Army's official statement read. 

Source: b'Chohan was detained by Pakistan army personnel\xc2\xa0'

Chandu Babulal Chavan, 22, returned through the land transit route of Attari-Wagah border.

The BSF handed him over to the Army which took him to an undisclosed location.

Chavan, posted with 37 Rashtriya Rifles, had mistakenly crossed the boundary in Kashmir hours after India's surgical strikes on terrorist bases across the LoC.

Chavan's brother Bhushan Chavan, who is also a soldier, said he is thankful to the army for its effort.

"I am thankful to DGMO and army for the efforts they have made. I am never going to forget this. I am also a soldier and will continue to do my duty with full honesty till my last breath," he said.

"I am grateful to the villagers and everybody who prayed for not just my brother but for a soldier of this country," Bhushan said.

Chavan belongs to Borvihir village in Dhule district of Maharashtra. His grandmother had died of shock following the news of his capture by Pakistani troops. 

A soldier of Rashtriya Rifles, Chandu Babulal Chavan was captured hours after India announced about its surgical strikes along the LoC. India had said its troops went around 2-km deep into territory occupied by Pakistan and attacked seven terror launch pads.

Chavan was in no way linked with the attack and had reportedly crossed the border by mistake, the army had claimed. 

(With PTI inputs)

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