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China claims captured soldier was 'herding yaks' when he strayed across border, and calls on India to give him back

Stuti Mishra
·1-min read
India China have been engaged in an ongoing standoff at the border for the last five months (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
India China have been engaged in an ongoing standoff at the border for the last five months (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

China’s military has said it hopes India will “honour its pledge" and return a soldier from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who was captured on Monday during the ongoing border standoff between the two countries.

The defence ministry of China issued a statement late on Monday saying the soldier had been “helping herders round up yaks when he lost his way on Sunday evening”.

India identified the soldier as Corporal Wang Ya Long, and said he was “apprehended” in the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh after straying onto the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India said in a statement on Monday that the soldier would be returned upon completion of unspecified “formalities”.

“A request has also been received from the PLA about the whereabouts of the missing soldier. As per established protocols, he will be returned back to Chinese officials at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities," the statement read.

Both countries have deployed an additional 50,000 troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along the high altitude LAC area during the ongoing standoff, which started in May this year. Both sides have accused each other of making incursions into each other’s territory, and shots have been fired at the border for the first time in 45 years.

The countries have had a strained relationship since they fought a brief war in 1962 over the disputed border. India’s decision last year to separate Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir state also received strong opposition from China, which raised the matter at the UN Security Council.