Indian Army captures Chinese PLA soldier in Ladakh, China reports in soften voice

Indian army says it apprehended the PLA soldier after he strayed across a contested de facto border in the western Himalayan region.
October 20, 2020 | 07:27
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Chinese soldiers guard a China-India border crossing at Nathu La Pass. (Photo: VCG)

India: The soldier will be returned

Indian security forces captured a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier in the Chumar-Demchok area of Ladakh on Monday.

According to reports, the PLA soldier had supposedly trespassed onto the Indian side. The Indian Army will hand him over to the Chinese after following the established directives. According to India Today, the soldier is of Corporal-rank and was allegedly held with civil and military documents.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier was captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh and would be returned after the completion of formalities, the Indian army said in a statement on Monday.

"PLA soldier identified as Corporal Wang Ya Long was apprehended in the Demchok sector of Eastern Ladakh on 19 October 2020 after he had strayed across the LAC. 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,” Reuters quoted.

The detailed plans or conditions to release the captured soldier have not yet been revealed.

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Indian army trucks carrying supplies move in convoy towards areas in the Ladakh region. (Photo: Reuters)

China responds in softened voice

China's state-backed Global Times reported the news in a softened voice, referring to the so-called captured soldier as "a missing Chinese has been detained in India".

The PLA command spokesperson said in a statement on Monday night that a soldier went missing while helping a herdsman find his yak along with China-India border areas on Sunday night. China notified India immediately and India agreed to help search for the soldier and return him to China.

“We hope India will fulfill its promise and return the person and work with China to implement the consensus reached at the 7th round of military-diplomatic talks and to safeguard peace and stability of the border areas,” Zhang said.

China and India are currently communicating on the matter, to which India is holding a relatively positive attitude. China and India previously reached an agreement on the matter and the two sides are moving toward solving the issue. The incident will not cause new conflicts in the border areas, and solving the matter will also signal new progress in the bilateral negotiations, said Global Times.

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Indian Army. (Photo: The Northeast Today)

Even before the official statement was announced, the editor-in-chief of Global Times said in a tweet that the matter was being resolved. “Based on what I know, one Chinese soldier was detained by the Indian side, very likely because of getting lost,” said Hu Xijin. “Indian side has a positive attitude. The soldier will be returned to China. The issue should not cause new tensions in the border area,” India Times quoted.

According to Al Jazeera, the nuclear-armed neighbors have been locked in a months-long border confrontation in the Ladakh region, with troops killing each other in hand-to-hand combat and firing shots in the air. The standoff began in May and escalated in June to the deadliest violence between the two sides in decades. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and dozens of others injured. China is believed to have also suffered casualties but has not given any details.

Last month, the world’s two most populous nations accused each other of sending soldiers into each other’s territory in the Pangong area and firing warning shots for the first time in 45 years, raising the specter of a full-scale military conflict. But both sides have also held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks, though they have made little headway.

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