(TibetanReview.net, Jan23’22) – China appears to have decided not to escalate the situation stemming from its border troops’ abduction on Jan 18 of a 17-year-old youth from India’s border state of Arunachal Pradesh. After the Indian Army alerted it on a missing youth, the Chinese side, having initially denied knowledge about it, has decided to verify his identity and return him within a week, according to Indian media reports Jan 23.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has confirmed to the Indian Army that they have found a missing person, reported the indianexpress.com Jan 23. It cited sources as saying the PLA will confirm the youth’s identity using photos and then start the process of sending him back, which could take about a week.
Earlier, Tapir Gao, an MP from the state who belongs to India’s ruling BJP, had said Jan 19 the Chinese PLA troops had abducted the youth, Miram Taron, from Indian territory on Jan 18. This was stated to be based on information from the youth’s friend Johny Yaiying who was reported to have said he too was abducted but managed to break free his captors to be able to bring out the information.
The Indian Army, on being informed of it, alerted the Chinese side on Jan 20 about a missing person and, if found, for his safe return in accordance with the established protocols between the two sides. The two locals were stated to be gatherers and hunters belonging to Zido village in the state’s Upper Siang district.
* * *
Earlier, on Jan 21, when asked about the missing Indian youth, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing, “Zangnan (southern part of Xizang) is China’s territory. China always opposes India’s illegal encroachment of Zangnan. The PLA controls the border according to law & cracks down on illegal border entry & exit.”
The day before, China had simply claimed that it was not aware of the disappearance of the Indian youth.
The day also saw China’s hyper-nationalist official media globaltimes.cn calling the kidnap report untrue and “a ridiculous anti-China slur.”
It also claimed that the five Indian hunters the Chinese side had abducted but eventually returned to India in Sep 2020 were intelligence agents disguised as hunters, “and they were warned, educated and later released by the Chinese side.”
China calls Arunachal Pradesh its territory called Zangnan (southern part of Tibet) on the basis of its claim, and India’s recognition, that Tibet is part of China.