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Two Indian soldiers go missing in US

March 28, 2008 11:16 IST

Two Indian soldiers have gone missing during a joint exercise with US troops last week in California and Indian authorities are approaching the state department for help in tracing them.

The Army contingent involved in the joint exercise with American troops at Camp Pendleton in California, found that two of its men -- Sanjay Mahato and Santosh Thapa – were missing, sources in the External Affairs Ministry said.

The troops were participating in exercise Shatrujeet (victory over enemy).

The exercise was part of expanding Indo-US defence cooperation and it was in 2005 that a team had gone to Camp Pendleton for the first time. The next year, US Marines came to India for an exercise at Belgaum.

Immediately, the authorities got in touch with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for assistance in locating the two men, who were being treated on " absent without leave", the sources said, adding assistance was also sought from the Indian Consulate in San Francisco which took up the matter with the state department.

However, with nearly 10 days having passed by, the Indian Mission will now take up the matter with the US State Department to press authorities in Los Angeles to help trace the two soldiers, the sources said.

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