NEW DELHI: India was working to secure the release of a soldier held in Pakistan but it will take “some days”, the defence minister said Sunday, following a dramatic spike in tensions between the neighbors.
India says the soldier was captured Thursday after he “inadvertently” crossed over into the Pakistani side of the defacto border that divides Kashmir between the two countries.
“He had crossed over, which happens in border areas. There is a well established mechanism through DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) which has been activated,” Manohar Parrikar said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
“Since the situation is tense right now, it will take some days to bring the soldier back.” India has evacuated thousands of people near the Pakistani border in Punjab state.
The move followed a deadly assault on one of India’s army bases in Kashmir that New Delhi blamed on militants, triggering a public outcry and demands for military action.
Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across the disputed border known as the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
On Saturday, Parrikar likened Pakistan to a patient under the influence of anaesthesia, amid an increase in derogatory comments between the two sides.
“It is just like anaesthesia. When anaesthesia is given, you don’t realise the surgery is over.
It’s been two days and Pakistan has still no idea what has happened,” he said. Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fresh fire across their border on Saturday as UN chief Ban Ki-moon offered to mediate, but there were no reports of activity on Sunday. -AFP