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Wednesday Oct 21 2020
Web Desk

India has returned strayed Chinese soldier lost in Ladakh border area: PLA

Web Desk
An Indian soldier on guard in the disputed Himalayan border region between China and India. — Photo: AFP

BEIJING: The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier, who went missing while helping local herdsmen find lost yak near the China-India border on Sunday, was returned to Chinese border troops by the Indian army early Wednesday morning, according to a statement by PLA.

The move came after China's foreign ministry on Tuesday urged India to honour its commitment to return the soldier.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing on Tuesday that China hopes India hands over the soldier as soon as possible and works with China to promote the implementation of the consensus reached at the 7th round of talks.

While commenting on the latest development, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University said it will take a long time to develop mutual trust between China and India.

The moves by India show they are trying to increase bargaining power and initiative in talks through tricks of being tougher, he told Global Times.

"China is capable of responding to India's moves in the diplomatic, military, economic, security and other fields [...] But China is always committed to resolving the issue through talks, and hopes that India will work with China to the same goal," Qian said.

"We hope that India will implement the consensus reached by senior officials of the two countries, and avoid escalating conflicts [...] China remains unchanged on that," he added.

It may be mentioned that China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in September in Moscow, and issued a joint statement and a five-point consensus, which said differences should not lead to conflicts.

India-China border conflict

Both sides have engaged in a tense standoff along their 3,500-kilometre (2,200-mile) border since a battle in June left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, as well as an unspecified number of Chinese casualties

India announced Monday that a corporal named Wang Ya Long had been "apprehended" in the harsh mountainous area of Ladakh.

An Indian government official said Tuesday that Wang "was well", but his release would come only "after completion of formalities".

"No timeframe is fixed as of now," he told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

India and China have poured tens of thousands of troops into the region since the June battle despite several rounds of talks.

Analysts say both sides are digging for a long, hard winter showdown.