India releases Chinese soldier who strayed across the contested border

  • India has handed over a Chinese soldier who strayed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries.
  • The Chinese soldier was apprehended in the Demchok region of eastern Ladakh on Monday, according to The Economic Times of India.
  • The Indian Army claims the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was disoriented when he was found and that he was given medical assistance.
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The Indian Army has released a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier who strayed across the border between the two countries, according to Chinese military publication PLA Daily.

The PLA soldier was apprehended in the Demchok region of eastern Ladakh on Monday, according to The Economic Times of India.

According to the Indian Army, the PLA soldier looked disoriented when he was found. He was provided with medical assistance and oxygen.

China maintains that the only reason the soldier crossed the border was that he was “helping the local herdsman find lost yak.”

Both countries have often disagreed about the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly since the war of 1962.

It’s not uncommon to find soldiers straying along the 3,440-kilometer disputed border. Even the Indian Army, in its statement, said that the soldier would be handed back to the Chinese as per “established protocols.”

As recently as last month, China had five Indian nationals in its custody after they strayed across the border. The nationals in question were not soldiers and were released back to India within a couple of days.

India-China tensions have risen since June

Landscape with valley and mountains, Leh, Lakadh, India - stock photo

Since a June clash in the Galwan Valley, tensions have been high between India and China.

Getty Images / Ilona Kryzhanivska

Since June, tensions have been exceptionally high between the two nations following a clash in Galwan Valley. The dispute left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an undisclosed number of casualties on the Chinese side.

This was the first fatal confrontation between India and China since 1975 and took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also the first time in 45 years that either side has accused the other of firing shots along the border.

The 1996 agreement of cooperation between Indian and China dictates that the use of guns and explosives near the border is prohibited in the interest of maintaining peace.

Since the Galwan incident, both sides have had at least 16 rounds of talks. The most recent discussion took place between the military leaders of both countries.

While both sides agree that disengagement is imperative, neither is prepared to back away from their current positions where friction points are located.

Analysts believe military options are on the table for both countries, but the best way forward is still bilateral dialogue.

To that end, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to come face-to-face for the first time since tensions broke out during the BRICS summit on November 17.


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