New Delhi: India on Friday repatriated two Pakistani juveniles, Faisal Hussain Awan and Ahsan Khurshid Chaudhry, who had strayed across the border into India, the foreign ministry said.
The repatriation took place after “the completion of investigation and the confirmation of their nationality” via the Attari-Wagah land crossing between the two countries, a statement by the Indian foreign ministry said.
“The government of India attaches highest importance to addressing all humanitarian matters, including early release and repatriation of all eligible Indian prisoners and fishermen,” the statement said.
According to foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, the two Pakistani teenagers had crossed into India in September “around the time of Uri attack” in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed.
India’s director general of military operations had informed his Pakistani counterpart by phone that the two teenagers “would be released because no evidence has been found on their involvement in the Uri attack”, Baglay told reporters on Thursday.
He, however, added that humanitarian moves like this, Pakistan releasing some 400 Indian fishermen in its custody and India setting free some 30 Pakistani fishermen in its custody, did not mean an attempt to normalise ties which would in turn lead to the resumption of bilateral talks between the two countries.
Talks have been stalled since 2013 and various attempts to revive them have not met with success, floundering mainly over Pakistan’s support to terrorism against India.