A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement.
The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday.
New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten lost.
Both sides have engaged in a tense standoff along their 3,500km border since a battle in June left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, as well as an unspecified number of Chinese casualties.
Wang got lost while looking for a Tibetan herder’s yak, said Colonel Zhang Shuili (張水利), spokesman for the PLA’s Western Theater Command.
“We hope that the Indian side will live up to its promise to hand over the missing Chinese soldier as soon as possible” to “maintain peace and tranquillity” on the border, Zhang said in a statement on Tuesday.
An Indian government official on Tuesday said that Wang “was well,” but his release would come only “after completion of formalities.”
“No time frame is fixed as of now,” he told reporters, on condition of anonymity.
India and China have deployed tens of thousands of troops to the Himalayan region, despite several rounds of talks.
Analysts have said that both sides are digging in for a long, hard winter showdown.
Tensions have also spilled into civilian life, with some Indian nationalists demanding a boycott of Chinese goods, and the government banning a slew of social media apps from its major rival.
India is also seeking closer security ties with other countries wary of China’s growing military power.
Indian Army Vice Chief of Staff Lieutenant General S.K. Saini is in the US for talks and to seek equipment for use in the border showdown, government sources said.
Additional reporting by AFP
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