Pakistan returns soldier to India


Pakistan has handed back an Indian soldier who was swept by a river into Pakistani-controlled territory in Kashmir.

He had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) – the de facto border dividing the disputed Kashmir region.

Satyasheel Yadav was part of a team of soldiers patrolling the Chenab river on Wednesday when the incident took place.

Relations between Pakistan and India have improved in recent months after a spike in tension last year.

Several deadly cross-border attacks in 2013 plunged the neighbours into the worst crisis in relations in years.

But in May, India’s new PM Narendra Modi met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and they pledged to work for peace and stability.

SS Tomar, a senior official of India’s Border Security Force (BSF), told the BBC that Mr Yadav was trying to climb into a boat in the surging Chenab when he slipped and was carried away by the strong current.

Pakistani soldiers detained and questioned Mr Yadav before deciding to hand him back on Friday, reports say.

“They [Pakistani soldiers] took my introduction. They helped me to the extent they could. They kept me better than what I had thought. I have no complaints. I am happy,” Mr Yadav said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

It is not the first time people from either side have been returned after straying across the LoC.

In 2012, India handed back a Pakistani soldier who had crossed the LoC allegedly to “meet his girlfriend”.

And in 2011, Pakistan forced an Indian military helicopter to land after it crossed into Pakistani territory. It was later released.