Ladakh/ New Delhi:
A Chinese soldier, who was caught by Indian forces in eastern Ladakh after he strayed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), was handed back to China on Tuesday night. The soldier, identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long, was caught in the Chumar-Demchok area, the army said on Monday.
The soldier was questioned by China experts before he was handed back to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to sources.
On Monday, the army had said that the soldier would be returned to the Chinese Army “as per established protocol after following due procedure”. He was provided medical assistance including oxygen, food and warm clothes “to protect him from the vagaries of extreme altitude and harsh climatic conditions”, the army said in a statement.
A request had been received from the Chinese army about the whereabouts of the missing soldier, the army added.
The soldier “got lost while helping local herdsmen retrieve a yak”, a Chinese officer said in a statement on Monday night. “We hope that the Indian side will live up to its promise to hand over the missing Chinese soldier as soon as possible and implement the consensus reached by the two sides in the 7th round of Senior Commanders meeting, so as to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas,” Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the PLA, said.
Indian and Chinese soldiers have been locked in a standoff at the LAC, or the de-facto border between the countries, in Ladakh since May. Tension peaked in June when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty in a clash with the Chinese at Galwan Valley.
There have been several rounds of military and diplomatic talks between the two sides to resolve the standoff but the Chinese have refused to adhere to agreements on restoring status quo.