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China claims soldier who crossed LAC was ‘helping local herdsmen’

Mos Home G. Kishan Reddy with officers of Spangchenmo Police Check Post near Leh on October 17, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Twitter/@PIBHomeAffairs

China’s military said late on Monday that it was in touch with India over the case of the Chinese soldier who had strayed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Demchok sector, and had been apprehended.

The Indian Army said on Monday the soldier, identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long, had been provided medical assistance including oxygen, food and warm clothes as protection from the harsh climatic conditions. It also confirmed it had received a request from China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on his whereabouts.

Also read: Keep off India’s affairs, Reddy tells China, Pak.

The Army said as per established protocols, he will be returned to Chinese officials at the Chushul–Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities.

“China hopes that India will hand over soon the Chinese soldier who got lost in China-India border areas on the evening of October 18 when helping local herdsmen retrieve a yak at their request,” Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the PLA’s Western Theater Command, said in a statement.

The PLA, in its statement, said “the PLA border troops informed the Indian military right after the incident and hoped the Indian side would aid in search and rescue, and the Indian side promised to offer help and return the missing soldier timely after finding him.”

Also read: Ladakh standoff | After talks fail to break impasse, China blames India for tensions

“The latest information from the Indian side is that the lost Chinese soldier has been found and will be handed over to the Chinese side after receiving medical examination,” the statement said. “We hope that the Indian side will live up to its promise to hand over the missing Chinese soldier as soon as possible and implement the consensus reached by the two sides in the 7th round of Senior Commanders meeting, so as to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

Following the seventh round of talks on October 12, both sides said in a joint press release they had “a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.”

“They were of the view that these discussions were positive, constructive and had enhanced understanding of each other’s positions,” the release said. “Both sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution for disengagement as early as possible. Both sides agreed to earnestly implement the important understandings reached by the leaders of the two countries, not to turn differences into disputes, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas.”

At the previous sixth round in September, both sides said they agreed to not add to the already heavy build-up on both sides of the LAC. However, both sides have not, as yet, reached an agreement to thin the presence and move towards disengagement, and a return to the status quo prior to China’s multiple transgressions in the Ladakh sector starting in May.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 12:55:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/china-claims-soldier-who-crossed-lac-was-helping-local-herdsmen/article32897642.ece

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