(TibetanReview.net, Jan10’21) – As India questions a Chinese soldier it had caught on its side of the volatile border with Chinese-occupied Tibet in the Ladakh region on Jan 8 in keeping with established procedure, China has demanded that he be returned to them forthwith. This is the second such incident since Oct 19 when also a Chinese soldier was caught in another part of Ladakh.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had transgressed into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in the area, zeenews.india.com Jan 10 cited official sources as saying.
The report noted that the capture of the PLA soldier had come in the midst of an eight-month-long bitter border standoff between the two armies in eastern Ladakh. The soldier was reported to have been apprehended from an area south of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh.
The border between the two sides pass through the lake.
“The PLA soldier had transgressed across the LAC and was taken into custody by Indian troops deployed in this area. Troops from either side are deployed along the LAC since friction erupted last year due to unprecedented mobilisation and forward concentration by Chinese troops,” PTI news agency Jan 9 quoted the Indian Army as saying in a statement in New Delhi.
The Chinese demand came despite the PLA having been informed about their soldier in Indian custody.
China has claimed that the soldier “went astray” in the China-India border areas.
“Due to darkness and complicated geography, a soldier of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army frontier defence force went astray in the China-India border early Friday morning,” the PTI report quoted China Military Online, an official website of the PLA, as saying.
“The Indian side should strictly adhere to relevant agreements reached by the two countries and waste no time to return the lost soldier to the Chinese side, so as to add positive factors for de-escalating the border tensions between the two countries and jointly maintaining peace and tranquillity in the China-India border areas,” it was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army statement has been quoted as saying, “The PLA soldier is being dealt with as per laid down procedures and circumstances under which he had crossed the LAC are being investigated.”
Earlier, on Oct 19, Indian troops captured a Chinese soldier after he “strayed” across the LAC in the Demchok sector of Ladakh. China claimed that he was helping Tibetan herders who had lost their way.
At that time, Corporal Wang Ya Long of the PLA was handed back to China at Chushul-Moldo border point in eastern Ladakh following laid down protocols, the PTI report said.