Thursday, January 21, 2021

India returns Chinese soldier who strayed over border

India returns Chinese soldier who strayed over border

India has returned a Chinese soldier detained for straying over the contested Himalayan frontier, China’s military said Monday, of a remote flashpoint area between the two countries.

The soldier was apprehended Friday on the Indian side of the high altitude border where rival troops fought deadly battles in June last year.

He was returned to Chinese forces at noon Monday, according to the official People Liberation Army Daily.

The military newspaper said the soldier had “lost his way due to darkness and complicated terrain.”

The soldier was handed over “according to a relevant agreement between China and India,” the PLA Daily said.

The Indian army later confirmed it had returned the individual.

The soldier’s detention was the second on the high altitude border since 20 Indian border soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent skirmish last year.

Both sides have since poured tens of thousands of troops and heavy weaponry into the tension zone in the Ladakh region, currently in the grip of freezing winter temperatures.

Another Chinese soldier was briefly held by Indian forces in the same region in October.

India and China have disputed their frontier for seven decades and fought a brief war in 1962. The two sides blame each other for the current standoff.

The neighbours have held several rounds of disengagement talks but failed to ease the military buildup.

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