On Saturday, the China Military Online portal demanded that Indian authorities “promptly transfer” back a soldier whom China’s government had reported missing in “darkness and complicated terrain.”
The Chinese soldier was detained by India’s army on Friday. This is the second such incident since October. Tensions between the Asian giants have escalated following a fatal clash in June that left 20 Indian soldiers killed in the Himalayan border region.
At the time, China did not disclose its casualties. However, Beijing poured tens of thousands of troops and heavy weaponry were poured into the Ladakh area, which now gripped by winter.
India’s military reported that the detainee, described as a People’s Liberation Army soldier, had been “apprehended” on the India side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the early hours of Friday.
The circumstances under which he crossed the LAC, south of Pangong Tso lake, were “being investigated,” stated the army, without providing a time frame for his return.
In November, DW reported that troops from both nations were just a few hundred meters apart along several heights near the shared Pangong Tso lake.
On Saturday, China’s Defense Ministry said both sides were bound by “relevant agreements” over lost personnel along the disputed Himalayan frontier.
Last September, China released five Indian nationals, described as Indian hunters, who had gone missing from the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
In November, the nuclear-armed neighbors began formulating a disengagement plan aimed at withdrawing troops and establishing no-patrol zones.
On Friday, India’s foreign ministry said “both sides have maintained communication at the ground level to avoid any misunderstandings and misjudgments.”
Since a brief war in 1962 that culminated in the LAC’s delineation, India and China have remained locked in dispute over their high-altitude frontier.
ipj/dj (Reuters, AP, AFP)
China calls on India to ‘promptly’ return captured soldier The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Deutsche Welle.