The Chinese Army has said that it has found a missing boy from Arunachal Pradesh, ANI reported on Sunday, citing the Defence’s public relation officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Harshvardhan Pandey, the public relation officer, said that they were following the procedure to bring him back. However, it is not confirmed if the person found is Miran Taron, the 17-year-old boy who was said to have been abducted by the Chinese Army.

Unidentified officials told The Indian Express that the Chinese Army was trying to confirm the boy’s identity using photos of Taron and then would start the process of returning him, which could take about a week.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tapir Gao had claimed on Wednesday that Taron was kidnapped by the Chinese Army from Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh on January 18.

The MP claimed that Taron’s friend, who had managed to escape from the Chinese Army, had reported the alleged kidnapping to authorities. Gao urged the Indian authorities to take steps to release the 17-year-old boy.

While the central government did not provide any official response on Gao’s claim, unidentified officials in the defence forces told PTI that the Indian Army has asked for assistance from the People’s Liberation Army to locate the missing boy and return him as per established protocol.

The Indian Army informed its Chinese counterpart that an individual could not be traced after he lost his way while collecting herbs and hunting, the officials had told PTI.

The incident came amid a border standoff between India and China since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

Gao’s claims on Chinese incursion

In the past too, Gao has repeatedly expressed concern about Chinese incursion into the Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Army had denied his claims when he first mentioned the matter in September 2019. However, he raised the matter in Lok Sabha again in November 2019. In an interview to in June 2020, he mentioned the Upper Subansiri district as one of the areas where the alleged incursions took place.

In January last year, NDTV had reported that China has constructed a new village consisting of 101 homes, approximately 4.5 km within the Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh. The village was located along the banks of the River Tsari Chu in the Upper Subansiri district, the news channel had reported.

In November, another set of satellite images showed a cluster of at least 60 buildings, reportedly built by China, about 6 km within India in the region between the Line of Actual Control and the International Boundary.