India releases Chinese soldier who strayed across the contested LAC border

India releases Chinese soldier who strayed across the contested LAC border
Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh where India and China are currently locked in a stand off over border disputesBCCL
  • India has handed over the Chinese soldier who had strayed across the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • The Chinese soldier was apprehended in the Demchok region of eastern Ladakh on Monday.
  • The Indian Army claims the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was disoriented when initially found and was given medical assistance.
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The Indian Army has released the Chinese soldier who strayed across the border between the two countries, according to the Chinese military publication, PLA Daily. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was apprehended in the Demchok region of eastern Ladakh on Monday.

According to the Indian Army, the PLA soldier looked disoriented when he was found and was provided with the necessary medical assistance and oxygen. Meanwhile, China maintains that the only reason the soldier crossed the border was because he was “helping the local herdsman find lost yak.”

Both countries have often disagreed about the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — especially since the war of 1962. And so, having a soldier stray from one side to the other along the 3,440-kilometer disputed border isn’t unheard of. Even the Indian Army, in its statement, said that the soldier would be handed back to the Chinese as per ‘established protocols.’

As recently as last month, China had five Indian nationals in its custody after they strayed across the border — albeit, they were not soldiers but ordinary citizens. Either way, they were released back to India within a couple of days.

India-China border tensions continue to simmer
Since June, tensions have been exceptionally high between the two Asian giants when a clash in Galwan Valley killed 20 Indian soldiers and left an undisclosed number of casualties on the Chinese side. This was the first fatal confrontation between India and China since 1975 and took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


It’s also the first time in nearly half a century — 45 years — that either side has accused the other of firing shots along the border. Ordinarily, the 1996 agreement of cooperation between Indian and China dictates that the use of guns and explosives near the border is prohibited in the interest of maintaining peace.

Since the Galwan incident, both sides have had at least 16 rounds of talks. The most recent was between the military leaders of both countries. While both sides agree that disengagement is imperative, neither is prepared to back away from their current positions where friction points are located.

Analysts believe that while both sides do have military options on the table, the best way forward remains bilateral dialogue. To that end,Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to come face-to-face for the first time since tensions broke out on November 17 during the BRICS summit.

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