China India standoff: Beijing urges New Delhi to quickly hand over ‘lost’ Chinese soldier
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The solder was detained inside the Demchok area of Ladakh, India said this week, adding they would be released soon. The soldier has been identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long, India said.
A Chinese military spokesman, Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, has claimed the soldier had gotten lost in the border area while “helping local herdsmen retrieve a yak at their request”.
China’s Ministry of Defence added it had informed India of the lost soldier and that Indian forces “promised to offer help and return the missing soldier timely after finding him”.
Snr. Col. Zhang said China hoped “the Indian side will live up to its promise to hand over the missing Chinese soldier as soon as possible”.
India’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday it had received a request on the whereabouts of the soldier and that it would abide by “established protocols” to return them.
India’s Ministry of Defence said: “The PLA soldier has been provided medical assistance including oxygen, food and warm clothes to protect him from the vagaries of extreme altitude and harsh climatic conditions.
“As per established protocols, he will be returned back to Chinese officials at the Chushul – Moldo meeting point after completion of formalities.”
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Tensions surrounding the Line of Actual Control have flared this year following a clash between Indian and Chinese forces in June which left many dead.
In addition, last month both sides accused one another of firing shots near the LAC boundary.
China accused Indian forces of firing “provocative” warning shots while India said Chinese troops had fired guns into the air.
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If either of the allegations were correct, it would be the first time in around 45 years shots had been fired in the region, analysts said.
Further, an agreement signed between both sides in 1996 states the use of firearms at the disputed border is banned.
Both sides are reported to have deployed military vehicles, equipment, and soldiers near to the LAC as they prepare for a winter which can regularly see temperatures of minus 35 degrees in the eastern Ladakh region.
Indian news outlet India Today has claimed provisions of special winter clothing have been issued.
Amid the tensions, officials from both India and China have met in recent months to discuss de-escalation.
Talks on September 10 resulted in a five-point plan which involved the disengagement of troops.
The agreement was reached between Indian official S. Jaishankar and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at a meeting in Moscow.
After another round of talks later that month, the two sides issued a joint statement in which officials agreed “to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries” and “avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation”.
An eighth round of talks between Indian and Chinese commanders is expected to take place this week.
However, a date for the negotiations is yet to be finalised according to news agency PTI.
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