NEW DELHI: India is working to secure the release of a soldier captured in Pakistan but it will take “some days”, the defence minister said Sunday, following a dramatic spike in tensions between the archrivals.
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 nuclear-armed neighbours.
Manohar Parrikar claimed the capture did not relate to the Indian military’s strikes on militants that sources said on Thursday occurred several kilometres inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
“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 following the military raids on militant posts, which provoked furious charges of “naked aggression” from Pakistan.
Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across the disputed border known as the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, but sending ground troops over the line is rare.
The two countries, separated at the end of British colonial rule in 1947, have fought three wars in the last seven decades — including two over Kashmir.
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.