India returns 'lovelorn' Pakistani soldier

Line of Control India has erected a fence along much of the de facto border with Pakistan

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India has handed back a Pakistani soldier who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) - the de facto border dividing the disputed Kashmir region - allegedly to "meet his girlfriend".

Arif Ali, 19, crossed the LoC on early Thursday morning to meet the girl who lives on the Indian side, reports said.

He was detained in Poonch district, in Jammu region, near a fence erected by India to stop infiltration.

Earlier, army officials said they were probing whether Mr Arif was a spy.

A resident of Quetta in Pakistan, Mr Arif belongs to the 25 Frontier Force of the Pakistani army and is deployed at the Saifullah post near the LoC, officials said.

There have been several instances in the past when people from the two sides have strayed into each other's territory and have been returned after verification.

In October last year, Pakistan had forced down an Indian military helicopter after it crossed over into Pakistani territory. It was later released.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the disputed Kashmir region, but relations between the South Asian neighbours have improved in recent months.

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