New Delhi: A Chinese soldier was apprehended by the Indian Army in the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh on Monday after he had “strayed across the Line of Actual Control”. The Indian Army said the PLA soldier will be returned to the Chinese Army after the completion of all formalities at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point in Ladakh.
The Chinese soldier has been identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long.
“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,” said the Indian Army in a statement. It said a request has also been received from the PLA about the whereabouts of the missing soldier.
“As per established protocols, he will be returned to Chinese officials at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point after the completion of formalities,” the Indian Army statement said.
Both the Indian and Chinese armies have deployed over 50,000 troops each along the LAC in eastern Ladakh, including in Demchok sector. The military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh has now entered the sixth month, where for the first time in 45 years guns have been used and shots have been fired.
China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper said on Monday that the smooth handling of the latest incident involving the Chinese soldier was a “good sign”. It said the incident will not lead to new conflicts in border areas and solving the matter will also signal new progress in the bilateral negotiations.
The incident occurred at a time when India and China are preparing to hold the eighth round of corps commanders’ talks soon, but a date is yet to be worked out.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army’s top commanders will discuss the threats emerging from China and Pakistan at the commanders’ conference due to be held next week, from October 26 to 29. The conference will also discuss proposals to cut down expenditure on ceremonies like colour presentations, regimental reunions and raising days, among others.
India has asked for complete disengagement from all points in eastern Ladakh, where China has transgressed into Indian territory, including Pangong Tso and Gogra Post-Hot Springs. India has made it clear that since it was China which had first transgressed, it will have to make the first move towards disengagement. India wants restoration of the status quo ante of April 2020 in eastern Ladakh. The Chinese PLA wants India to vacate the strategic heights it has occupied on the Kailash range which overlook the entry points of the Spanggur Gap in the Chushul sector during the pre-emptive action of August 29-31.