Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has found five missing Indian men in its territory.

The Arunachal Pradesh Police had launched an investigation on Saturday to look into allegations that Chinese soldiers had kidnapped the five villagers from the Upper Subansiri district, situated along the Indo-China border in the state. The five were reportedly taken away by a team of the PLA from a jungle where they were hunting. Rijiju had said on Sunday that the Indian Army had reached out to its Chinese counterpart over the matter.

“China’s PLA has responded to hotline message by Indian Army,” Rijiju tweeted on Tuesday. “They have confirmed that missing youths from Arunachal Pradesh have been found by their side. Further modalities to handover them to our authority is being worked out.”

The five missing individuals were identified as Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker and Ngaru Diri.

The development came a day after China dismissed India’s concern about the five missing civilians. On Monday, Beijing said it does not recognise Arunachal Pradesh to be Indian territory. The country claims the state is part of “South Tibet”.

India-China tensions

India and China have been locked in a standoff in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. On Tuesday, the Indian Army denied that that it had resorted to firing or any other aggressive measures across the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and accused China of blatantly violating bilateral agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres in the region amid de-escalation talks.

The clarification from India came after Beijing on Monday night claimed that Indian soldiers fired warning shots in a new confrontation at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh near the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake. As a result, the country said it took “countermeasures to stabilise the situation on the ground”.

On September 1, India had said that China had once again engaged in provocative military manoeuvres along the Line of Actual Control. This escalation in border tensions came a day after the Indian Army said its soldiers had thwarted similar movement of the Chinese military in the South Bank area.

The escalation in tensions came over two months after the troops of both the countries clashed on the border on June 15, in Ladakh. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives and 76 were injured. An unidentified number of Chinese soldiers also died in the clash.