China Tells India: Return Immediately PLA Soldier Who Went Astray
Beijing: China has urged India to immediately return one of its soldiers who “went astray” and was captured by the Indian Army near Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh on Friday.
Indian officials said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had crossed over to the Indian side of Line of Actual Control (LAC), PTI reported.
“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,” PLA’s official website said.
“The PLA frontier defence force notified the Indian side of the information the first time, hoping the Indian side could assist in search and rescue of the lost Chinese soldier,” PLA stated.
“Nearly two hours later, the response from the Indian side came, confirming that the missing soldier had been found and would be returned to the Chinese side after receiving instructions from the superior authority,” it further said.
“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.”
Indian Army released a statement in New Delhi which said: “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.”
“The PLA soldier is being dealt with as per laid down procedures and circumstances under which he had crossed the LAC are being investigated,” it added.
Three months ago, another Chinese soldier had been captured after he also strayed across the LAC in Demchok sector of Ladakh.
The PLA soldier was handed back to China as per laid-down protocols.
Both countries have been deploying troops in big numbers in eastern Ladakh since May-June last year because of the tense border standoff following a bloody skirmish between Indian Army and PLA, that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan valley.